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Tanzania presidential hopeful Tundu Lissu returns home after attempt on life



Tundu Lissu greeting supporters

Image caption

Tundu Lissu was met by hundreds of cheering supporters at the airport

A prominent Tanzanian opposition figure who survived an attempt on his life in the capital, Dodoma, has returned to the country where he is expected to launch a bid for the presidency.

Tundu Lissu had been living in Belgium since he was shot three years ago and has undergone more than 20 medical operations.

Nobody was convicted for the attempt on his life.

While out of the country, Mr Lissu was stripped of his parliamentary seat.

He was met by hundreds of cheering supporters as he left the international airport in the country’s main city, Dar es Salaam.

Ahead of his return to Tanzania, Mr Lissu, as well as rights groups, had asked the government to guarantee his safety in the country.

The BBC’s Sammy Awami in Dar es Salaam says the politician’s next step in his bid for top office would be to win the Chadema opposition party’s nomination for the presidential race.

At the scene

Athuman Mtulya, BBC, Dar es Salaam

With a big smile on his face, Tundu Lissu walked out of the airport waving to his supporters who went wild with jubilation.

He has not been here since he was flown out in September 2017 after he was sprayed with 16 bullets by unknown gunmen.

Limping, he walked towards his supporters who were chanting: “President! President!”.

They were fears of skirmishes after police warned supporters against gathering at the airport.

But officials appear to have had a change of heart and Mr Lissu’s backers were left in peace.

Mr Lissu is a staunch critic of President John Magufuli who is vying for a second five-year term at Tanzania’s general elections in October.

Though he has been praised for economic reforms and tackling corruption, President Magufuli’s government is under increasing scrutiny for crackdowns on press freedom and has been accused of under-reporting the spread of coronavirus in the country.

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