Two senior Immigration officials from Kisumulu Immigration Border Post in Tanzania on Wednesday visited Songwe Immigration Office to inquire about Tanzanian citizens who were arrested last week around Kayuni Village near Kayerekera Uranium Mine in Karonga.
Police in the district arrested the eight Tanzanian nationals aged between 25 and 63 for criminal trespass which is contrary to Section 314 of the Penal Code. They also did not have travel documents.
According to Songwe Immigration Office spokesperson Yusuf Shaibu, the Tanzanian officials, comprising Deputy Commissioner for Immigration Service Taniel Magwaza and his deputy John Njiragiza wanted to inquire about the arrests as it was rumoured in their country that they had been accused of being Dodoma’s spies.
Said Shaibu: “The Tanzanian Immigration counterparts, among other things, explained that rumour got them that some Tanzanian nationals had been arrested at Kayerekera Uranium Mine after Malawian security personnel suspected that they were spies. Further, they wanted to know the number of the suspects and their gender.”
He said the eight were arrested for heading to Kayerekera for unknown reasons, and they failed to give convincing answers to police for their trip.
According to Shaibu, on October 13 this year, another group of 26 students from Moravian University in Tukuyu, Tanzania, were refused entry to Kayerekera Uranium Mine because they had not booked an appointment in advance. The group was led by Reverend Leman Jere.
Meanwhile, Karonga Police Station deputy spokesperson Constable George Mulewa has confirmed that the eight are remanded at Mzuzu Prison.
The eight, all from Songeya in Tanzania are, Ashura Yasiri, 63, Walasa Mwasangu, 30, Binto Materinus, 32, Christian Msoli, 38, Martin Jodomusole, 25, Layinali Kumba, 47, Maliyu Mkobe, 37 and Gilbert Mahumdi, 32.
On Wednesday, Tanzanian’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, East African and International Cooperation Augustine Mahiga told The Citizen Newspaper his government had instituted an inquiry into the matter.
He said reports of spies were serious allegations and would be followed up with Tanzania’s Embassy in Malawi and their intelligence people on the matter. n