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10 men arrested for ‘being gay’ in Tanzania days after country set up a surveillance squad to identify and arrest them

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Ten men were on Saturday arrested on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar for ‘being gay’ just days after the country announced plans to arrest them.

The group were arrested after police reportedly raided a party at Pongwe Beach following a tip-off from members of the public. Six other suspects at the party managed to flee from police.

The ten men are being held at Chakwal police station in Unguja,

The arrests come days after Paul Makonda, the regional commissioner for Dar es Salaam, said an anti-gay surveillance team have been created whose job will be to monitor people on social media, identify those that are gay, and arrest them.

He also encouraged people to hand over names of anyone they suspected of being gay so authorities could investigate.

Reacting to the move, Seif Magango, the East Africa Deputy Director for human rights group Amnesty International, said: ‘This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government’s assurance that no-one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

‘This appalling attack on Tanzanian people simply exercising their human rights shows the danger of inflammatory and discriminatory rhetoric at senior levels of government.

‘We now fear these men may be subjected to forced anal examination, the government’s method of choice for ‘proving’ same-sex sexual activity among men. This must not be allowed to happen – these men must be released immediately.’

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