Thursday, June 26, 2003

SOMALIA-TANZANIA: Somali Bantus to get citizenship
NAIROBI, 26 Jun 2003 (IRIN) - Tanzania will favourably consider applications for citizenship from about 3,000 Somali Bantu refugees who have lived in the country since 1992, a government official told IRIN on Thursday.

Speaking from Dar es Salaam, the deputy minister for home affairs, John Chiligati, said the government was willing to integrate the refugees into the society because it believed that they originated in the country before they were taken to Somalia as slaves some 300 years ago.

Chiligati said issue was raised in the Tanzanian parliament on Wednesday by a member who wanted to know what the government was doing about the Somali Bantus who have been living in Tanga region. The first group of about 1,000 refugees arrived in Tanzania in 1992 after they fled Somalia when Mohammed Siad Barre's presidency ended in 1991. MORE

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