A Family’s Search for their Missing Son: The Tragedy of Joshua Mollel

In a heart-wrenching tale of loss and uncertainty, the family of Joshua Mollel, a 21-year-old Tanzanian student, is desperately searching for answers. Joshua had been living on Kibbutz Nahal Oz in Israel when it was attacked by Hamas militants, leaving him missing and his family in anguish. This incident has not only shattered their hope and dreams but has also highlighted the challenges faced by families in similar situations.

According to Joshua’s father, Loitu Mollel, the last conversation he had with his son was just days before the attack. He recalls advising Joshua to be on his best behavior and seize the opportunity of his internship in Israel. Joshua had left behind his family in northern Tanzania, filled with excitement and aspirations of becoming one of Tanzania’s most successful farmers. His studies in Israel were meant to pave the way for a future that could lift his family’s modest income.

Being the eldest child, Joshua was viewed as a role model by his younger siblings, who now live in constant worry without any communication from their brother. The devastating attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz resulted in numerous casualties and hostages taken over the border to Gaza. The fate of Joshua remains unknown, leaving his family emotionally distraught and unable to eat or sleep. Loitu Mollel states that people even comment on his weight loss when he visits the market, a consequence of his deep concern for his missing son.

The anguished father attempted to seek information about Joshua’s wellbeing through various channels. He looked for an Israeli embassy in Tanzania, hoping for any updates, but was directed to the Tanzanian foreign ministry and the Tanzanian ambassador in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, no information has been provided regarding Joshua’s whereabouts or condition. Both Tanzania and Israel have not confirmed the identities of the missing students, but the BBC has verified that Joshua Mollel is one of them.

Tanzania’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Alex Kallua, expresses their collaboration with Israeli authorities to locate the missing students. The Tanzanian embassy strives to gather accurate information about their situation, whether they are held captive or otherwise. The BBC has reached out to Israel’s foreign ministry for a response but awaits their comment.

Tanzanians studying in Israel are predominantly focused on agricultural-related disciplines, with around 70% being students. Ambassador Kallua shares that nine Tanzanians have safely returned home within the past week. The embassy remains committed to ensuring the safety of all Tanzanians residing in Israel.

Joshua’s internship at Nahal Oz’s dairy farm was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute – Katrin in central Tanzania. However, there has been no response from the college regarding this distressing incident. Joshua’s grandfather, Ephata Nanyaro, chooses not to assign blame to the authorities due to the attacks by Hamas in Israel. Nevertheless, the pain felt by Joshua’s family is immeasurable, intensified by the lack of answers and contact with their missing loved one.

The last online interaction with Joshua, via the messaging app WhatsApp, occurred on October 7th, raising further concerns about his safety and well-being. Loitu Mollel admits to the immense stress he faces daily as his young daughters inquire about their brother’s whereabouts without any answers to give.

The disappearance of Joshua Mollel highlights the agony experienced by families who grapple with similar situations. It underscores the need for swift and efficient response mechanisms in instances of missing individuals, regardless of their geographic location. The case of Joshua reminds us of the importance of international cooperation and support in times of crisis, ensuring the safety and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their nationality or background.