A high-ranking Tanzanian official says his government is considering legal action to force former colonizer Germany to pay reparations for alleged atrocities committed over a century ago.

Defense Minister Hussein Mwinyi told lawmakers Wednesday that Tanzania's government will seek compensation over tens of thousands of people who allegedly were starved, tortured and killed by German forces while trying to put down rebellious tribes.

Germany ruled Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika, from 1890 to 1919.

If Tanzania presses for reparations, the East African country would be following the recent example of Kenya, where a group of elderly Kenyans won compensation from the British government for acts of torture blamed on British colonial officials.

There was no immediate response from the German embassy in Tanzania.