Police in Tanzania detain opposition leader

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania's main opposition leader, Tundu Lissu, and at least two of his top aides were arrested by police on Sunday for holding an unlawful assembly, his party and police said.

CHADEMA, Tanzania's largest opposition party, said Lissu was arrested at a hotel along with other party leaders in the Karatu district of northern Tanzania's Arusha region.

"Hotel attendants said police asked the room where our Vice Chairman (Lissu) was staying in, they were told and went in ... after arguments with Lissu's security, police entered his room by force and took him away without telling where they were going," the party said on social media platform X.

CHADEMA said that after detaining Lissu, police also arrested his security aides and at least two senior party officials.

In a statement, Arusha regional police commander Justine Masejo said they had detained Lissu and three others for questioning about accusations they were holding an unlawfully assembly and preventing police from doing their job.

"After the interrogations and completion of other procedures, further legal actions will be taken," Masejo said.

Since returning from exile in January Lissu has been holding political rallies across the country.

At those rallies Lissu has criticised President Samia Suluhu Hassan's administration for its handling of a controversial ports management deal and human rights violations.

Lissu returned from exile after Hassan lifted a six-year ban on political rallies. He had been in Belgium where he fled in 2020 after losing a presidential election to John Magufuli.

In 2017 Lissu survived being shot 16 times in what was widely believed to be a politically motivated attack.

(Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Giles Elgood)