30 December 2012

Tanzania: Two Muslim Clerics Arrested in Isles

Zanzibar — THE arrest of two more clerics in Zanzibar has added to the number of suspects accused of conspiring to kidnap a Muslim cleric, the crime that sparked violence in October, this year.

Sheikh Abdallah Said (Uamsho Secretary) and Sheikh Fikirini (Uamsho Member) appeared in court last Friday. They now join eight others who have been in remand since October 19, this year.

The eight Muslim clerics and members of the Uamsho Muslim group are Sheikh Msellem Ally Msellem, Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed, Sheikh Mussa Juma Issa, Sheikh Azzan Khalid Hamad, Sheikh Suleiman Juma Suleiman, Sheikh Khamis Ali Suleiman, Ghalib Ahmad and Sheikh Hassan Bakar Suleiman.

"The latest suspects were on the list of wanted persons," said Commissioner of Police in Zanzibar, Mr Mussa Ali Mussa. He said that the police were still hunting for other suspects and compiling enough evidence which will be useful during the hearing of the case.

In search for more evidence police detectives have questioned Ms Salma Said, a correspondent with Mwananchi newspaper and Germany Radio- DW over her interview with the leader of Uamsho Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed shortly when he reappeared from alleged kidnap.

Farid claims he was abducted by people who identified themselves as police officers on October 16, this year, but police denied the accusation. The abduction sparked unrest in Zanzibar town leading to the death of three people including a police officer and destruction of properties.

The Muslim clerics have been charged in two separate courts: District and Regional, with instigating and persuading people to disorder in many parts of Zanzibar, contrary to section 45 (1) (a) & (b) of the Criminal Procedure Act.

They are also charged with conspiring to commit offence, for the disappearance of Sheikh Farid and inciting the police, contrary to section 74 (1) (b) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). All the accused deny the charges and their lawyers have been struggling to get bail. The bail at the regional court has been indefinitely blocked by the Director of Public Prosecutor (DPP) for national security concerns.

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