23 people including Arusha mayor and ten journalists have been arrested during a visit to the school of the victims of the May 6 Tanzania school bus crash that claimed the lives of 35 people.
They were rounded up by the police on Thursday afternoon during a donation presentation ceremony at the premises of the Lucky Vincent Nursery and Primary School.
Among the 23 were some bereaved families and school authorities who had just received 18 million Tanzanian Shillings ($8000) from an association of private schools, local media report.
The Acting Arusha Regional Police Commander Yusuph Ilembo earlier told journalists that they were arrested “for holding an unlawful meeting”.
My boys became suspicious of some individuals in the crowd, so they had to arrest them.
The journalists were released first after their statements were taken, local news portal The Citizen reports.
The police commander later acknowledged that they were mistakenly arrested after the police were alarmed by the large crowd gathered at the school.
“My boys became suspicious of some individuals in the crowd, so they had to arrest them,” newspaper The Guardian quoted Ilembo.
32 pupils, two teachers and a driver of the Lucky Vincent Nursery and Primary School were killed when their bus skidded off a hilly road and fell into a river on May 6 near Karatu in northern Tanzania on their way to write an examination.
The three survivors – Doreen Elibariki (13), Saida Awadh (11) and Wilson Tarimo (11) – were flown to the city of Iowa on Sunday facilitated by Christian NGO Siouxland Tanzania Educational and Medical Ministries (STEMM).
The government has organised a counseling programme for students of the school who resumed classes on Monday after the institution was closed down a day after the accident.
Bereaved families have been promised some compensation after the government held a national funeral for the students.
The country’s legislature had also donated 100 million shillings ($44,700) to families of the victims.