Somali refugees claiming to be ethnic Tanzanians receive Tanzanian citizenship
Mogadishu (Harar24) – For the first time in history the government of Tanzania has begun to issue citizenships to Somali refugees seeking asylum in the country, since the refugees started arriving in the country around two decades ago.
The number of Somalis who have received citizenship so far amounts to 1514 people, some who claim to be of Tanzanian origin and were taken as slaves to Somalia during the slave trade around 3 centuries ago.
Omar Lugunji Munyi, a Somali refugee who says he’s from Tanzanian origin, is one of those who received the citizenship and spoke to some media outlets. According to him all Somali refugees in Tanzania who received citizenships are of Tanzanian origin, and are known as “Somali Bantu” who fled Somalia at the start of the civil war in 1991. “1514 of our people have so far received Tanzanian citizenship, and many others are expectantly waiting” said Mr. Munyi. “We Somali Bantus hail from Tanzania, our forefathers were taken around 3 centuries ago and forced into slavery. We consider that we are back in our country and are happy at receiving the citizenship” he added.
Omar said that it isn’t farfetched that he’ll return to Somalia someday, as he has relatives still living in Somalia, however he expressed that he’ll return as a Tanzanian citizen. “I’ll certainly go back to Somalia one day, as a Tanzanian citizen of course, I still have relatives living there” he said.
Since the beginning of the civil war many Somalis have fled their homeland in search of safety and to escape the violence back home, with many becoming citizens of different countries. However the “Somali Bantus” are the first to receive citizenships of a country which they see as having been their own country.