13 June 2014

Tanzania: Theft of Transformers Raises Concern in Tarime District

TARIME District TANESCO Manager, Mr Beatus Kebwe, inspects a transformer which was recently damaged by unknown people. (Photo by Mugini Jacob)

TARIME town has in the past two months experienced frequent of transformers, according to officials of the state run Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO).

The thieves are reportedly looking for transformer oil and copper wires, according to Tarime TANESCO Manager, Mr Beatus Kebwe. The acts of sabotage early this month plunged Tarime town into darkness as Mr Kebwe reported that four transformers had been stolen.

He said hundreds of TANESCO customers had been complaining that the stealing of the said machines had paralysed business in the town. "About 400 customers have been left without power supply and it may take several days to replace the damaged transformers," he said, while appealing to Tarime residents to safeguard the power infrastructure.

"TANESCO is a public property and we appeal to the 'wananchi' (members of public) to report any incident of transformer oil theft." Samweli Chomete, a trader in Tarime town described the incidents as serious crime posing a big challenge not only to TANESCO but also to power users in the area.

"We need to work together with TANESCO to arrest the culprits," he said. On his part, Turwa Marwa Kenogwe, who operates a milling machine, said his business stopped for several days due to lack of electricity.

"This is a hard time because even the milling machines cannot function," said a resident of Nkende area in Tarime town. Tarime Special Zone Regional Police Commander Justus Kamugisha said he was aware of the incidents.

"Yes, we are looking for the suspects," he said. "We can't be everywhere and in this case the public should volunteer information to enable us arrest the suspects," he added.

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