Sumbawanga — TWO suspected criminals presumed to be Burundi nationals have been fatally shot in a fire exchange with the police in Rukwa Region and one has been arrested. The shootout lasted for hours in one of the forests in the region, police have said.
The duo is, among other things, suspected of involvement in carjacking. One of the deceased was later identified as a witch-doctor for a criminal ring who had in the past been arrested in possession of a machine gun and 80 rounds of ammunition.
Rukwa Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Jacob Mwaruanda said that there were a total of six suspects armed to the teeth who took cover in a forest at Kalumbaleza village in Sumbawanga District along the Muze-Kibaoni highway.
During the exchange of fire, two bandits were killed while others were injured but managed to flee. Police say that the suspects have been associated with recent attacks on fishermen on the shores of Lake Tanganyika at Kasanga village in Kalambo District and made away with a boat and several boat engines.
They are also alleged of involvement in hijacking vehicles and robbing business people while on the way to Mpanda town from an open market in Katavi Region. Mr Mwaruanda named the deceased as Stephen Januari alias Mkombo (35) and Vitus Mganda (32) while the one arrested has been identified as Sebastian Maembe (51), a resident of Mbwilo village in Sumbawanga District who also doubled as the group's traditional healer.