CRIME

As in most other countries Tanzania is suffering from an upsurge in crime. Recent cases include the following:

On 9th June the wife of former Prime Minister John Malecela was attacked by bandits on the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro highway when she stopped to change a flat tyre. Mrs Malecela’s 18-year-old son was beaten up when he refused to hand over his mobile phone.

The Swahili press reported on August 10 that Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr. Evarist Manumba (59) had been gunned down by burglars who entered his home in the city. Police said two bullets entered his hand and leg. He died later died at Muhimbili hospital due to excessive bleeding. It happened at 7.45 pm when the burglars overpowered a guard and a housemaid. Manumba did his post-graduate studies in Economics and Health Planning in the eighties at South Bank and Leeds universities in the UK.

On May 21 robbers stole TShs 3.8 billion from the Moshi branch of the National Bank of Commerce. TShs 129 million was recovered. During succeeding weeks some 51 persons were arrested for the crime. The first 18, led by a four-man defense team, denied the charges in a packed courtroom on July 20. – Nipashe.

Nipashe reported on July 4 that about six bandits shot dead a Swiss investor Walter Peter (42) at his home at Ngongongale village, Arumeru district, in Arusha region and made away with property. The deceased settled in the village in 2001 and was erecting a tourist hotel. There were reports that he was not on good terms with his neighbours who accused him of hiring and firing labourers indiscriminately.
A British national, Stephen Forwood (62), a tourist accompanied by his wife, was sentenced to serve two years in jail by the Ilala District Court in Dar es Salaam. He was found in possession of three sticks of bhang (marijuana) on arrival at the Dar Es Salaam International Airport. But, a day later, on July 26, the Magistrate rescinded her judgment and sentenced him instead to a suspended sentence and a fine of TShs 20,000. Forwood’s counsel had earlier prayed for the court to review the sentence as his client was a stranger in the country with a family who came from a society where, for someone to be found with small amounts of marijuana for personal, use was not a crime – Majira.

Majira has reported that two suspected Ugandan bandits were killed in Arusha when they engaged the police in a shoot out in the main street. The police had been tipped off that the bandits were intending to rob a prominent shop in the municipality.

On August 1st at 9.30am six armed thieves waylaid a bus carrying 32 overseas tourists (including ten Britons) travelling from Moshi to Arusha and robbed them of more than TShs5 million and $2,600 as well other personal belongings. The robbers used two motorbikes to pursue the bus from Moshi. No one was injured. In mid-August seven Dutch tourists visiting the ancient ruins at Kijichi village in Zanzibar were robbed of back packs, wristwatches and money – Uhuru.
The Guardian reported on June 12 that a gang of thugs had cordoned off part of the busy Uhuru Street in Dar es Salaam and raided a number of shops in the area. The gangsters were dressed in military fatigues and brandished AK-47 assault rifles. Hawkers operating in the area dived for cover. Shops closed. A number of commuters jumped out of daladalas through the windows and ran away in different directions. While some thugs kept watch, their colleagues proceeded to rob nearby shops, appearing to specifically target those selling mobile phones.
However, in spite of this crime wave the number of tourists visiting Zanzibar continues to increase. From January to June 2004 more than 34,000 tourists entered, compared to 39,000 from January to October 2003. (Mwananchi)

A suspected robber was shot dead in Dar es Salaam at 8pm on August 7 when police ambushed a gang of thugs robbing customers at ‘Traders Grill’ on Bagamoyo Road. The gangsters had stormed the restaurant a few minutes earlier and fired several shots in the air before ordering patrons to lie down and surrender their mobile phones, cash and other valuables. Police rushed to the restaurant and shot the robber dead after he refused to surrender and attempted to shoot the officers. Three other gangsters sustained gunshot wounds in the incident, but managed to escape in a Toyota Chaser saloon. Police engaged the robbers in a high-speed chase and upon reaching Kijitonyama, near the National Science and Technology Commission headquarters, the gangsters’ car collided with another vehicle and landed in a ditch. But the thugs gave police the slip once again after abandoning their car and escaping from members of the public who had attempted to lynch them. The Police said it should not be difficult to trace the suspects as they all had gaping wounds and that it was possible that they had sought treatment in private hospitals – Guardian.

Meanwhile, the police have not been idle. They destroyed 850 illegal arms from 883 suspects from January to December 2003 and as part of the 2004/2005 budget the Government will be recruiting 2000 more police constables. In Dar es Salaam they arrested two witchdoctors accused of illegal possession of firearms. They were quoted as saying that robbers often deposited their weapons with witchdoctors for their blessing before setting out to steal – Nipashe.

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