Tanzania Police: We're probing Kabendera's citizenship

What you need to know:

  • Kabendera who writes for publications including The EastAfrican was forcefully whisked away from his home.

Police in Tanzania have said they are holding journalist Erick Kabendera over a probe into his citizenship.

Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa told a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that some doubts have arisen over whether Kabendera was a Tanzanian national, hence his detention for further investigation.

Mr Mambosasa also said the journalist was arrested at his home on Monday evening because he refused to go to the police station on his own, after he was summoned.

“Kabendera was provided with a formal police summons last week, but he did not comply. He was arrested -- not abducted -- on Monday due to suspicions surrounding his citizenship,” the police chief said.

Mr Kabendera, a freelance journalist who writes for various local and international publications, including The EastAfrican, was whisked away from his home in a Dar es Salaam suburb by six men in plain clothes, who identified themselves as police officers.

A relative who preferred not to be named said the officers did not show any identity cards, and confiscated both Kabendera's and his wife's mobile phones.

Commander Mambosasa said that Kabendera is being held at the Central Police Station in Dar es Salaam’s city centre.

"When the investigation is through, further information will be provided to the public," he said.

According to Mr Kabendera's wife Loyce, the arrest in their home was carried out in front of curious neighbours, who were barred from taking photos.