Royal gift or ‘stolen’ gem? Calls for UK to return 500 carat Great Star of Africa diamond to Tanzania Read more
The diamond is the largest of its kind ever found in Africa
A group has now joined forces to demand that it be returned after it was purchased from a former police officer for £15m ($24m).
In a statement, the campaigners said they were seeking full compensation for the “unlawful, illegal and unacceptable” detention.
The diamond, which is estimated to be over 500 carats, had become a staple of the local collection of traditional chiefs and officials and found its way into the hands of several museums.
But in a move that will anger the government, the Great Star of Africa, which has been described as the world’s largest diamond, has attracted widespread international attention from the moment it was discovered in August 2014.
Although, only a small portion has been cut from the diamond, it is expected to fetch a large sum in the market.
The government of Tanzania has also been accused of abusing the natural treasure and has even gone as far as calling it stolen.
The diamond was taken from Tazara mining complex in the coastal region, which has been owned by mining tycoon Emmanuel Sambanadze for almost four decades.
Sambandze has always denied any wrongdoing in relation to the diamond, saying it was taken from a mine he previously owned.
But while Sambandze has consistently maintained that the Star was his property, locals say he simply transferred it to another group after the discovery.
A group which had previously planned to return the diamond has now said they will now work with a new law firm who will try to force Tanzanians to return the diamond.
They are hoping that the Great Star of Africa will also be brought back from the UK and given back to Tanzania.
An estimated 15,000 people have signed a petition calling