Tanzania forms surveillance squad to identify gays on social media and arrest them



Tanzanian authorities have reportedly formed a surveillance squad whose job will be to identify gays on social media and arrest them.

A BBC report quoted regional commissioner for the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, as saying that the 17-member team would include state officials from the Tanzania Communications Authority, the police and media practitioners.

The team’s main objective would be to monitor social media platforms to find people who engage in same sex relationships.

Makonda urged citizens to delete any nude pictures from their phones, warning that strict measures would be taken against pornography, said the report.

This came just a day after Makonda urged citizens to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week, according to AFP.

‘Give me their names’

Under British colonial-era laws, homosexuality was illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.

“These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli was quoted as saying by AFP.

“Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday.”

Makonda said he expected criticism from outsiders for his hardline stance but added: “I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God.”

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