Sumbawanga — POLICE in Rukwa Region has tracked down fugitive Ilambila Village Executive Officer, who also doubles as Ilambila Primary School Head Teacher, Dominician Sungura in Kalambo District for allegedly selling a large portion of River Kalambo Forest Reserve to pastoralists.
The Acting Rukwa Regional Commissioner, Mr Moshi Chang'a, said the apprehension of the VEO made it possible for the authorities to arrest two more local functionaries on allegations of selling large portions of River Kalambo Forest Reserve in the new Kalambo District and pocketed unqualified amount of cash from pastoralists.
According to Mr Chang'a, the VEO was arrested in Sumbawanga where he had gone in hiding following a tip-off by some law abiding citizens. Mr Chang'a alleged that the first suspect to be arrested was Mkoe Ward Executive Officer, January Maskati, for allegedly illegally selling, to a pastoralist, more than 150 acres of land.
The WEO is said to have sold land inside the Kalambo River Forest Reserve for more than 2.5m/- and allowing him to live and freely graze his animals inside the restricted area. The arrest followed a special operation meant to remove people, who invaded the reserve.
The operation began on February 2, this year and ended five days later, leading to the removal of more than 500 head of cattle and nine pastoralists. It is also said that it was at that juncture that one Seso Luduka told the Acting RC, Mr Chang'a, that Maskati had sold him the land inside the forest, and assured him that it would be safe for him to live and graze his animals there.
Then, it was during an indoor meeting involving members of Rukwa Regional Defence and Security Committee, held at Kasanga Village that Mr Chang'a ordered Maskati's arrest. He was arrested after failing to defend himself against the allegations before the meeting. Mr Chang'a also directed the OCD of the newly established Kalambo District to launch a manhunt for the Ilambila Village Chairperson, Leberatus Sikale, who is still at large.