Tanzania police confirmed Tuesday that they are holding journalist Eric Kabendera for questioning regarding his citizenship.
Dar es salaam Special Zone Commander Lazaro Mambosasa told a press conference in Dar es salaam Tuesday that Kabendera was arrested after failing to respond to a police notice to report at a police station regarding his citizenship. His arrest was widely reported as an abduction Monday after police initially said they have no information about the arrest.
Late Monday night a district police commander in Dar es salaam confirmed that the journalist was in police custody. Kabendera, an investigative journalist who writes for local and international newspapers, was taken from his home Monday on the outskirts of Dar es salaam by six people who claimed to be police but refused to produce their badges.
Speaking with VOA, Neville Meena, secretary of the Tanzania Editors Forum, said incidents like this have left journalist afraid to speak truth.
“Does anyone now write anything? Report anything? Now you might be in trouble. It doesn’t matter whether what you have reported is true or not,” he said.
Kabendera’s arrest was immediately reported by local and international media as an abduction when police failed to produce information about his whereabouts. His relatives say Kabendera was born in Kagera region, western Tanzania, in 1980, went to the University of Dar es salaam, and has lived all his life in the country.
A Tanzanian investigative journalist, Erick Kabendera, was abducted Monday from his home on the outskirts of Dar es salaam, the country’s business capital.
A leading Tanzanian newspaper Mwananchi reports that Kabendera who writes for local and international newspapers was abducted Monday evening by people who are said to be police officers. Police have immediately denied being involved.
The journalist’s wife Loy Kabendera, told Mwananchi newspaper that the journalist was picked up by six people who forcibly stormed into the house and left with a Toyota Alphard car. She said the people identified themselves as police but refused to produce their badges. They also left with cellphones belonging to Kabendera and his wife.
In November 2017 a Tanzanian journalist Azory Gwanda disappeared mysteriously while investigating a series of killings of local government officials and police officers by unidentified assailants near Kibiti in Pwani region. He has not been since.
In early July, Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said during an interview with BBC that Gwanda had disappeared and died. He later retracted his statement.
Source: Voice of America