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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 19:25 GMT
Arrests after Tanzania clashes
The funeral procession of the Asian couple
The bodies of the two Asians were taken to Arusha
By Christine Otieno in Dar es Salaam

Tensions are still high in Northern Tanzania where Asian farmers and locals clashed last week.

Riot police sent in to quell the trouble have now arrested 11 people and are combing the nearby mountains for more.


The two groups have been at loggerheads over grazing land.

The fighting that began last week has resulted in three deaths - one herder and two Asians.

Of the 11 people arrested in the regions of Babati and Karatu, none are of Asian origin.

A source in Babati said that nine of the 11 people arrested have already appeared in court charged with the Asian couple's murder.

Still looking

Local authorities were forced to send in the riot police, Field Force Unit or FFU to help quell the fighting.

Neha Patel
Many Asians fled to Arusha

The unit was led by three senior police officers from Dar es Salaam.

The police say that in total they are looking for over 20 locals but would not say whether they intended to arrest any Asian farmers.

The trouble itself started when one local herder grazed his cattle on a farm owned by an Asian.

When the man was asked to move, he refused.

It is not known how the man was shot dead.

Dry hills

The local herders retaliated by attacking the farms and killing two of the occupants near Babati.

The victims have been named as 81-year-old Bhambhil Patel and his 71-year-old wife Dihraj Patel.

The dead herder has not been named.

Kavita Patel
Kavita Patel's farm was attacked

The Asian farmers who fled to nearby Arusha saying they feared for their lives, are asking for government intervention.

The farmers say they own their land legally and consequently can bar any of the local herders from grazing their cattle on it.

In response, the herders have appealed to the President Benjamin Mkapa, asking him to visit the region and experience the hardships they suffer.

The herders say all the arable land has been bought out by Asian farmers, leaving them with only dry hilly regions to graze their cattle.

This, they say, is unfair and is resulting in the death of a number of cows.

So far the government has not responded to either the herders or the Asian farmers.

Eyewitnesses report that it has been quiet around Karatu and the only gunfire heard was near Babati, some 300km away.

See also:

11 Jan 02 | Africa
Asians flee Tanzanian land clash
21 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Tanzania deal sparks aid row
30 Mar 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Identity problems in Kenya
24 May 00 | Africa
Kenya's Asian heritage on display
08 Aug 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Tanzania
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