Those We Have Lost

Clemence Mtenga: Tanzanian student on 1st trip from home

Believed killed by Hamas terrorists on Kibbutz Nir Oz, date of death unknown

Clemence Felix Mtenga (Courtesy)
Clemence Felix Mtenga (Courtesy)

Clemence Mtenga, a 22-year-old agricultural intern from Tanzania, is believed to have been killed by Hamas terrorists on Kibbutz Nir Oz.

He was missing for six weeks and thought to be held captive in Gaza. But on November 18, his body was identified and he was declared dead. Fellow Tanzanian Joshua Mollel, 21, is still missing.

A statement from the Tanzanian Foreign Ministry did not provide any details regarding Mtenga’s death but said it is in contact with Israeli authorities about bringing his body back to Tanzania for burial.

Both of the interns had arrived in Israel in mid-September, their first time traveling out of Tanzania. The Associated Press said they were both excited to learn more about farming.

In late October, Mtenga’s family told the BBC in a statement, “He should be courageous where he is, know that we love him and we pray for him day and night, hoping that he will be back soon.”

His sister told the AP that Mtenga was shy and studious, and was very excited to study in Israel, his first time ever leaving Tanzania.

“He was so excited to learn and meet new people,” his sister, Alphoncena Mtenga, told the news agency. “He wanted to start his own agri-business.”

Alphoncena said Clemence was the youngest of four siblings and attended church every Sunday and sang in the choir: “He has a beautiful voice,” she said. “He dreams of being a very successful person.”

Ezekiel Kitiku, a fellow Tanzanian intern, was living and working with Mtenga on Kibbutz Nir Oz in the dairy farm. He told BBC that as the air raid sirens sounded on October 7 and he ran for shelter, he texted Mtenga and Mollel. “They told me that there were so many rockets coming from Gaza — and that they were going to the shelters too,” he said. But a few hours later, they were no longer answering.

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