A family in Narok is crying for Justice for their Kin, a Kenyan journalist-cum-preacher, who has been arrested and detained in Tanzania for the last three weeks under unclear circumstances.
Pastor Julius Kuyioni crossed the Olpusimoru border on July 7 and headed to Loliondo to be a guest speaker and preacher in a three-day crusade through an invitation of the Loliondo Pastors association chairman Pastor Joseph Ngida.
However, according to his brother Moses Kuyioni, the former radio presenter with Mayian FM-under Mediamax- and currently heading the Narok county UDA gubernatorial candidate Patrick Ole Ntutu communication team, was arrested at Olgos-Sopia migration office in Tanzania before reaching his destination and transported to Arusha.
Speaking on a phone interview, Moses who has severally been to Tanzania to follow up on the matter, said his kin is being held at the Tourist and Diplomatic Police Station-Arusha where he is being interrogated.
“Our Kin went through the Olpusimoru border point with relevant papers, a temporary passport and Tz Missionary Visa 3 weeks ago, but when he reported to the Tanzania migration office at Olgos-Soipia for his document stumping he was arrested on suspicion of being in the country,” Kuyioni said.
Maasai conflict with Tanzanian government
He said the Tanzania authorities suspected he was entering the country as a News reporter to spy on the Loliondo conflict between the government and a section of the Maasai community being evicted from their ancestor land.
He said his brother's visit which coincided with a security operation going on in Loliondo was questioned and his phone was seized and handed over to the Tanzania Criminal investigation department for data and calls analysis and investigations.
His tour came after the Tanzanian government announced it would clamp down on 'illegal immigrants' in the northern town of Loliondo, suspecting that Kenyan Maasais were crossing the border to help the local community to oppose the creation of a nature reserve.
The Maasai herders of Loliondo are opposed to the Tanzanian authorities, who they accuse of wanting to expel them from part of their historic habitat area to make it a safari and private hunting area.
Last month Tanzania Home Affairs Minister Hamad Masauni called for tough measures to curb 'the influx of illegal immigrants from Kenya, most of whom have driven their herds into the Loliondo protected area'.
“He has already been questioned by the Tanzania regional and National Taskforce on security, and the Kenya Embassy and found not have committed any crime or planning any and recommended for release but the police are still holding him,” he added
Moses told PD Digital in a phone interview that the father of 3 has been languishing in the Tanzania cells and wants the Kenyan government to intervene for him to be taken to court if there is any wrongdoing or negotiate for his release.
“It is time as a family we call for interventions from the Kenya government to help us secure his release, because the Tanzania police are still holding him despite no charges preferred against him,” Moses said.
According to Human rights defender in Longido Tanzania Taiko Lemayian who is carrying out a protest against the arrest of Kuyioni said on his Twitter account; “Kuyioni was arrested in Loliondo on 7th July while preaching the word of God. He had a valid Tz Missionary Visa but still languishing in police cells and has never been charged or arraigned in Court,”
Under the hashtag #Releasekuyioni, #JusticeforKuyioni there is a twitter campaign for his release and Lemayian posted “We are calling on the #Tz #Tourist and Diplomatic Police Arusha to release #PastorJuliusKuyioni immediately.
The Maasai community straddles Kenya and Tanzania, and the Tanzanian government suspects Kenyans of going to help opponents of the government's project.
From the time the eviction kicked off last month, 20 Maasai have been charged after a policeman was killed in clashes on June 10, which also left 30 opponents injured after security forces fired live ammunition, according to UN experts.