ARMED robbers have once again emerged from their lair in the criminal underworld after a brief lull. Three robbers shot the cashier of Artan Company of Dar es Salaam as he was about to take 150m/- to a bank. The victim died in hospital later.
One of the robbers shot and killed an incensed bystander in the presence of police officers who was about to hit him with a stone. The police say all three robbers have been apprehended but confess to have failed to recover the 150m/-.
This is chilling news. In the past few months the Police Force announced that it had succeeded in outsmarting robbers and that the canker would soon go into the annals of history. The police were wrong. The morons were only taking a breather.
This social evil, it seems, has become an incurable cancer in this country. The saddest part of this unfortunate scenario is that not only do these psychopaths deprive their victims of their hard-earned prosperity; they also maim or kill people as they did on Tuesday.
The current crop of armed robbers is, to say the least, ruthless, merciless, and evil. Before these times, these evil forces carried out their nefarious and diabolical activities during the night. But now, they strike in broad daylight, even during the rush hours.
The police have been given the mandate to protect citizens from these miscreants and muggers in the midst of society. If the police, with close support from the wananchi, take this fight very seriously they can win. However, the terrain is rugged and difficult.
It is imperative, however, to mention here that the law enforcement agencies are doing their best under the circumstances. This fight is more complex than we see. A recent State campaign against illegal ownership of small firearms succeeded in impounding 304 guns.
It is kudos for the Police Force. The number of firearms found during the brief campaign shocked the nation. The find pointed to the stark reality that too many arms were in dangerous hands. It is this nettling situation that has prompted the government to issue an ultimatum to holders of illegal and unregistered firearms to surrender them to the State immediately.
The Police Force recorded a total of 876 criminal incidents between January and September, this year, in which small arms were used and 62 firearms were stolen. So, after a brief lull, armed bandits are running riot once again.
What the Police Force should do is to mobilize good samaritans to show its agents where illegal gun holders are located and, if possible, where they hide their arms. Bandits and other gun totters live in homes where it is difficult to hide their activities.