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Tanzanian students taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza named

  • By Alfred Lasteck and Danai Nesta Kupemba
  • BBC News, Dar es Salaam and London

Image source, MASHAV Israel


Joshua Loitu Mollel (left) and Clémence Felix Mtenga were among around 260 Tanzanian students in Israel

Two Tanzanian students taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza have been named by the Israeli government.

“They were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and are being held hostage in Gaza,” the statement said.

Mr Mollel’s father told the BBC he hoped his eldest son would return safely.

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

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

“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, October 5, two days before Hamas gunmen attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where he was studying.

The last words he said were, “Be at your best because you are in a new place and make the most of the internship you are here for.” »

Mr Mtenga’s sister told the BBC she was worried about him but remained hopeful he would be rescued.

The family says they have been in contact with Mr Mtenge’s roommate who managed to avoid capture by Hamas, and are keeping them informed of the situation in Israel.

They had a message for the 22-year-old: “He must be brave where he is, know that we love him and we pray for him day and night, hoping he comes back soon.”

They were among 260 Tanzanian students in Israel.

On October 7, 1,400 people were massacred by Hamas – which the UK, US and other Western powers consider a terrorist organization – in Israel.

More than 230 hostages were taken across the border into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Israel says they come from 25 countries, including one South African who has not yet been identified.

South African authorities made no comment.

Hamas claims to have hidden the hostages in “safe places and tunnels” inside Gaza.

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

During the transfer of power, she shook the hand of her Hamas captor. She said she was beaten with sticks as she was taken to Gaza, but was otherwise treated well.

Since the attack, Israel has responded with airstrikes that have killed more than 8,000 people, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Learn more about the Israel-Gaza war

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