15 January 2013

Tanzania: Mayhem in Dar As Students Protest Over Hostel 'Thefts'

Photo: Fidelis Felix/Nation
A Tanzanian policeman (file photo).

BUSINESSES at some places in Kigamboni area in Dar es Salaam were on Monday brought to a standstill for some hours following skirmishes between the police and students from various universities, colleges and institutions living in hostels at the area.

The police were forced to use tear gas bombs to disperse hundreds of angry students who demonstrated from Magogoni area to Kigamboni Police Station in protest of inaction by the law enforcers on their grievances concerning robbery incidences at the hostels they are living in.

Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Suleiman Kova confirmed the incident, but was quick to point out that neither the police nor students were injured and that no arrests were made as the matter was solved amicably at the end of the day."I told the students that the incidences were perpetrated by petty thieves and not bandits whom I can equally deal with squarely.

I asked them to show me the notorious areas so that I can take relevant action," the commander said.He added: "We have settled the matter amicably and students were happy with my position. To my surprise they (students) even agreed to pose for a group picture with me as a sign of reaching an agreement".

Early in the morning, the students from the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy, Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), College of Business Education (CBE), Institute of Finance Management (IFM) and Institute of Public Service at Magogoni assembled at the Home Affairs Ministry's office to register their complaints.

After a brief discussion with Commander Kova, they agreed to meet at Machava grounds in Kigamboni area. However, they decided to go to Kigamboni Police Station instead. The law enforcers' efforts to stop them failed hence the use of force.One of the students who preferred anonymity told the 'Daily News' that there have been waves of criminal incidents targeting private hostels where they have been living, particularly at Midizini and Machava areas.

The incidences were reported several times to the police but no action was taken."The students were enraged by last Saturday night incident whereby several robbers stormed into their hostels and sodomized and robbed them of their personal effects," said the student.

The thugs are said to have been targeting laptops, mobile phones, cash money and any other valuable item from the students. This reporter visited some of the areas to get first hand information from students who have been affected by the incidents, but they declined to give details.

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