Those We Have Lost

Joshua Mollel, 21: Tanzanian intern hoped to open agribusiness

Kidnapped from Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7 and believed to have been killed shortly afterward

Joshua Mollel (Courtesy)
Joshua Mollel (Courtesy)

Joshua Mollel, 21, an agricultural intern from Tanzania, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on October 7 from Kibbutz Nahal Oz. On December 13, his death was confirmed, and authorities said his body is being held hostage in Gaza.

Fellow Tanzanian Clemence Mtenga, who was originally thought to be held hostage following the October 7 attack, was declared dead on November 18, and his body was sent back to Tanzania for burial.

Tanzania’s Foreign Minister January Makamba said in a statement that Mollel was “immediately killed after being kidnapped by Hamas,” according to information from Israeli authorities, adding that his father, Loitu Mollel, will be traveling to Israel with a government official to receive more information.

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 both 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.

Joshua — the oldest of five children — had finished a diploma in agriculture studies from a college in the eastern Tanzanian city of Morogoro and then left for Israel in September — his first time traveling out of Tanzania.

He was working in the Kibbutz Nahal Oz dairy farm, and was excited to learn more about farming, wanted to eventually open his own agricultural business back home.

A few weeks after the attack, his father spoke to BBC, telling them he last spoke to Joshua on October 5, two days before the Hamas onslaught.

“I said, ‘Be on your best behavior because you’re somewhere new, and make the most of the internship you’re there to do,'” he recounted.

“My son wants to make his fortune in agribusiness and become one of Tanzania’s most successful farmers,” his father said at the time, saying they were hoping he would return home from his studies to build a successful business.

“We can’t eat or sleep — when I go to the market people ask me why I’m losing so much weight,” said his father weeks after the attack.

He told AFP in late October, “I feel bad all the time because my son is not a warrior. He just went for training but is now in trouble.”

He described his son as “polite, obedient and serious” about his work.

Louito told the BBC that Joshua’s younger siblings “ask me every morning and night: ‘Dad, we want to talk to our brother.'”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here. 

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