POLICE were on Wednesday forced to use teargas to overcome and eventually evict hundreds of invaders on plots and farms in various wards at Wazo, Mabwepande and Madale in Dar es Salaam.
After eviction, over 350 houses, huts and other structures built illegally in the areas were demolished by officials from the Kinondoni Municipal Council under tight security provided by police. During the operation that started at around 6 in the morning, groups of illegal occupiers, who tried hard to block the exercise, engaged police in running battles with bows and arrows and stones.
However, despite the highly charged atmosphere, the Kinondoni Regional Police Commander, Charles Kenyela said no one was hurt but 20 people were arrested. Among the several houses pulled down included a few modern structures whose owners had bought plots from the illegal occupiers.
The villages affected by the operation included Madale, Mabwepande, Kazaroho, Kinondo, Mbopo, Boko Magereza and Nakasangwe.The RPC said the villages had become hide-outs for criminals.
He added that on Wednesday's raid found several distillery drums for making illicit brew commonly known as "Gongo". The area is not far from the infamous Mabwepande forests. He asked invaders living in the villages near the areas to leave immediately.
The Kinondoni District Commissioner, Mr Jordan Rugimbana, who was fully involved in the operation, said invaders in the areas sell the plots to other individuals.
Mr Moris Mdoe, who had owned a farm in the area since 1998, said his area was taken since November 2009 by unknown people who threatened him the moment he wanted to continue using his land for other activities.
Some owners whose land had been occupied said they had been attacked, with others having their boundaries removed.Mr John Said, whose house was brought down, claimed that he had come to the area in 2003, and given the plot by the Mabwepande village office.
"I have lost property worth 500,000/-. I have the documents to show that the village office allocated me the plot," he said. There are allegations that some of the invaders are from neighbouring countries.