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Tanzania wants Malawi to release trespassers

The Government of Tanzania is pursuing diplomatic procedures with the Government of Malawi to secure the release of eight Tanzanians currently on remand in the country, facing criminal trespass charges.

The Malawian security officers arrested them in December last year, at Kayerekera Uranium Mine site in Karonga where it was initially alleged that the group was sent by the Tanzania Government to investigate if Malawi was manufacturing nuclear weapons.

The arrested Tanzanians are Ashura Yasiri , Wala-sa Mwasangu, Binto Materinus , Christian Msoli, Martin Jodomusole, Layinali Kumba, Maliyu Mkobe and Gilbert Mahumdi.

On Tuesday, Mzuzu Chief Resident Magistrate Texious Masoamphambe denied the eight bail, as the court awaits hearing of their case on January 26.

The Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of Tanzania, Aziz Mlima, told the Daily News in Tanzania on Wednesday that the Tanzania High Commissioner in Lilongwe was closely following up the matter, including visiting the detained Tanzanians.

He said last week, the high commissioner visited them at the remand and was given 30 minutes to have conversation with them regarding the issue.

“We are continuing with diplomatic procedures in efforts to ensure that this matter is being resolved amicably,” he said.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Mindi Kasiga, said it was a relief that the case was shifted from the High Court to the Magistrate’s Court proving that the allegations facing them have now become “less weighty”.

Recently, the Tanzania Government dismissed claims that the arrested Tanzanians were spies, insisting that they were activists opposed to uranium extraction.

The Tanzania Government claims that the eight Tanzanians being held in Malawi were employees of a German-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), which advocates a stop in the extraction and use of uranium.

During the court proceedings on Tuesday, drama erupted when the accused Tanzanians demanded that a fellow national should be the case’s interpreter.

“We are failing to understand what the court is saying because your interpreter is poorly translating our language; we, therefore, need a good interpreter from our country,” said one of them.

Efforts to talk to the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rejoice Shumba proved futile as she was in a meeting

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