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Woman arrested for same-sex kiss in Tanzania

Woman arrested for same-sex kiss in Tanzania

Geita Regional Commissioner Robert Gabriel talks to a crowd

A woman was arrested in Tanzania after a video of her kissing another woman went viral in the east African country.

The woman was arrested in the northwestern town of Geita after she was filmed allegedly hugging, kissing and presenting another woman with a ring.

‘I can confirm that a Tanzanian woman is under police custody over that video clip. We will issue more details later after we conclude our investigation,’ Geita police chief Mponjoli Mwabulambo told Reuters.

The arrested woman reportedly worked at a local gold mine and was aged between 30 and 40.

Geita’s Regional Commissioner Robert Gabriel said the woman’s actions were contrary to the country’s laws.

‘The country’s laws are clear as homosexuality is not allowed and if this incident has occurred, then it must be condemned,’ Gabriel told The Citizen.

‘We will not leave this matter to end just like that, but we will ensure that the law takes its course’.

The other woman

Reuters reported that it could not confirm the details of the video, but many social media users had condemned the women’s actions.

‘Both of them should be arrested. Why did the woman accept an engagement ring from another woman?’ Cosmas Alele wrote on Twitter.

It is believed police are still searching for the other woman who appeared in the video.

Tanzania’s record on LGBTI issues

Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania and can carry a life sentence in jail. Having same-sex relations can lead to five years in jail and a hefty fine.

The country’s president John Magufuli has led a recent crackdown on Tanzania’s LGBTI population.

As recently as October, 13 people were arrested for trying to keep HIV prevention initiatives running in the country. This followed a 2016 from the Tanzania’s Health Minister to restrict the distribution of personal lubricants to gay men to discourage them from having sex.