Tanzanian refugees moved from Mombasa

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- A total of 300 Tanzanian refugees from Pemba Island, including two pregnant women, have been moved from Shimoni camp near Mombasa to Daadab refuge camp in North-Eastern Kenya.
Another batch of about the same number are expected to be transported to the same camp on Monday.
The refugees fled the Tanzanian Indian Ocean island after the police brutally dispersed a protest demonstration organised by the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) in January this year.
Close to 30 people were reportedly killed by the police.
The move comes only two days after officials from CUF and the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party appealed to the refugees to go back home as the situation was now peaceful.
The two parties which have been holding dialogue to normalise their relations had said that only four of the refugees would be arrested if they returned to Tanzania.
These are suspected of killing a police man during the riots which took place in Zanzibar in January this year.
According to the UNHCR Resident Representative in Kenya, Sergio Norina, the decision to shift some 1,200 refugees was requested by the Kenyan government, which asked the UN agency to persuade the refugees to either go back to Pemba or accept to move to Daadab camp.
Norina said most of the 700 refugees going to Daadab were young people who have not heeded pleas made by the Tanzanian Union government and the Civic United Front (CUF) to return home.
"All former members of the House of Representatives in Zanzibar on the CUF ticket have opposed going to Daadab.
They say that the situation in Pemba is calm.
But the young people think otherwise," he said on Friday.
Norina explained that the refugees who have opted to move to Daadab have said they were waiting for the release of their detained CUF colleagues before going back to Pemba.
They are also demanding the creation of an independent commission of inquiry to probe the number of people killed during the 27 January demonstrations in Zanzibar and Pemba.
An official of the Kenyan High Commission in Dar es Salaam said the Zanzibari refugees going to Daadab would find more living space there than at Shimoni, which is not intended to shelter refugees.
On Thursday, a senior CUF official and the Minister for Home Affairs, Mohamed Seif Khatib, separately assured refugees from Pemba, sheltered at Shimoni, they could return home.
However, Khatib said four CUF members --Hamdani Ali Sultan, Said Kijaa, Ali Hussein Ali and Said Hussein, would be arrested on arrival to face a murder charge.
These are suspected to be linked to the murder of a police constable during the January 27 clashes in Pemba.

27 april 2001 22:15:00

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