Tanzania: 10 men arrested for being gay in government crackdown


Ten men in Tanzania have been arrested on suspicion of being gay, the same week a new task force was created by the government to identify homosexuals.

Amnesty says the 10 individuals were arrested on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar after police received a “tip-off” from the public about a same-sex marriage taking place. Last week, Dar es Salaam official Paul Makonda called upon the general public to report anyone suspected of conducting homosexual activities as he announced the creation of a new task force dedicated to identifying suspected gay people on social media.

10 arrested, hundreds in hiding

Following Makonda’s announcement last week, hundreds of people are said to be in hiding through fear of being arrested over their sexual orientation or gender identity. The report of 10 men in Zanzibar being arrested is the first instance of people actually being arrested since the announcement and Amnesty International has condemned the actions of Tanzania’s government.

“This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government’s assurance that no one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The 10 men were reportedly arrested when police raided a party at Pongwe Beach, Zanzibar on Saturday night. They are all being held at Chakwal police station in Unguja but no charges have been brought against them, Amnesty reports.

“This appalling attack on Tanzanian people simply exercising their human rights shows the danger of inflammatory and discriminatory rhetoric at senior levels of government,” Seif Magango said.

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About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.