Riots rock Tanzania and Zanzibar townsBy RAY NALUYAGA in Nairobi | Wednesday, October 17 2012 at 17:25
Riots erupted in Zanzibar’s Stone Town and Tanzania’s commercial city of Dar es Salaam Wednesday following the arrest and disappearance of Muslim clerics.
According to information posted by the US Embassy in Tanzania on its website, there have been roadblocks, tyre burning, rock throwing and rioting in Darajani, Mbuyuni and Kisonge in Zanzibar following the disappearance of Sheikh Farid Haji.
The statement said security forces in Dar es Salaam had reported a crowd gathering at Police Headquarters on Ohio Street in central Dar es Salaam, demanding the release of a radical cleric, who was arrested with 38 others Wednesday morning.
According to Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander Suleiman Kova, security forces arrested the Council of Islamic Organisations Secretary-General, Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda in the morning.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Kova said Sheikh Ponda was arrested in connection with allegations linking him to several crimes committed in the country, including incitements against the government.
He said the police were also investigating Sheikh Ponda in connection with incitement between Muslims and Christians as well as creating unrest amongst the former.
“The US Embassy alerts US citizens that Tanzanian authorities and local media report demonstrations, roadblocks, tyre burning, rock throwing, and rioting in the Darajani, Mbuyuni, and Kisonge districts of Stone Town, Zanzibar this afternoon,” read the statement posted on Twitter.
It added that demonstrators were upset due to the apparent disappearance of a Muslim cleric in Stone Town.
“These are fluid situations that may change rapidly. Avoid these areas until the situation has returned to normal and continue to monitor local media for updates,” said the US embassy statement.
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