Seventeen suspects believed to be al-Shabaab members appeared before Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es-Salaam on Thursday (July 17th) to face terrorism charges, Tanzania's Daily News reported.
Sixteen of the accused were charged with conspiracy and recruitment of people to commit terrorist acts throughout Tanzania between January 2013 and June 2014.
The seventeenth suspect, Jihad Swalehe, was charged separately with seeking financial support to facilitate terrorist attacks, conspiracy, promotion and facilitation of the commission of terrorist acts, and the use of the Facebook to co-ordinate attacks.
Swalehe allegedly committed the offenses between March 21, 2013, and June 2, 2014, from unknown locations in Dar es Salaam. The prosecution said Swalehe communicated with individuals through Facebook seeking material, financial and technical support in order to plant explosives in undisclosed locations in Kenya.
The suspects were unable to enter a plea because the Magistrate Court does not have jurisdiction over cases that will be heard by the High Court. Senior Resident Magistrate Hellen Riwa adjourned the case of the sixteen suspects until July 23rd, while Swalehe's court date was set for July 30th.
At an earlier press conference, Tanzanian police spokesperson Advera John Bulimba thanked the public for their help in providing information that led to the arrest of the suspects.
"We call upon Tanzanians to continue collaborating with the police force... let us work together to improve, strengthen, and maintain the security and peace of our country," she said according to Tanzania's The Guardian.