Tanzanian students taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza named

Two Tanzanian students taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza have been named by the Israeli government. Joshua Loitu Mollel and Clemence Felix Mtenga were in Israel as part of an agricultural internship programme, Israel’s foreign ministry said on X.

“They were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and are being held hostage in Gaza,” the statement read. Mr Mollel’s father told the BBC he hoped that his eldest son would return safely.

Tanzania’s ambassador to Israel has assured both families the two governments were working together to secure their release.

However, the Tanzanian authorities have not commented publicly on the seizure of their citizens.

Before it was confirmed that his son, 21, had been taken hostage, Mr Mollel told the BBC he could not eat or sleep because he was desperate to know what had happened to him.

“When I go to the market people ask me why I’m losing so much weight,” he said last week. The last time Mr Mollel spoke to his son was on Thursday 5 October – two days before the Hamas gunmen attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where he was studying.

The last words he said were: “Be on your best behaviour because you’re somewhere new, and make the most of the internship you’re there to do.”

Mr Mtenga’s sister told the BBC they were worried about him but remained hopeful they would be rescued. The family say they have been in contact with Mr Mtenge’s roommate who managed to avoid being captured by Hamas, and keeps them informed about the situation in Israel.

They had one message for the 22-year-old: “He should be courageous where he is, know that we love him and we pray for him day and night, hoping that he will be back soon.” The two were among 260 Tanzanian students in Israel.

On 7 October 1,400 people were massacred by Hamas – which the UK, US and other Western powers class as a terrorist organisation – in Israel. More than 230 hostages were taken over the border to the Gaza Strip which is under Hamas control.

Israel says they come from 25 countries, including one South African who is yet to be identified.The South African authorities have not commented. Hamas says it has hidden the hostages in “safe places and tunnels” within Gaza.

Four of the hostages have since been released, including Yocheved Lifschitz, an 85-year-old grandmother who was kidnapped alongside her husband Oded from a different kibbutz.

During the handover she shook the hand of her Hamas captor. She said she had been beaten with sticks while being taken to Gaza but had otherwise been well treated.

Since the attack, Israel has retaliated with air strikes that have killed more than 8,000 people, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which is run by Hamas.

– Source: BBC


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