4 May 2016

Tanzania: Police Hunt Criminals After Churches Torching

Bukoba — AUTHORITIES in Kagera Region are working closely to crack down on a criminal network following a recent spate of torching of churches in Karagwe district, the Kagera Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Augustine Ollomi, has said.

Mr Ollomi said a group of unknown criminals on Monday night torched a Catholic church at Nyarwele - Kimiza Parish in Karagwe district. The exact amount of loss has not been established. Karagwe Diocesan bishop Almachius Rweyongeza appealed for calm and called on people with information to cooperate with police to net the criminals.

According to Mr Ollomi, within a spell of four months three churches were burnt at Kihanga ward, in Karagwe district. They include the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) and Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG).

He further said last year, unknown assailants burnt two churches at Kaibanja and Katoro wards, in Bukoba Rural district, occasioning loss of millions of shillings. He named the churches as Evangelical Lutheran -ELCT at Kaibanja ward and Musila at Katoro ward and a Catholic church at Kiijongo in Katoro ward.

On the night of September 22, last year unknown people set on fire a Pentecostal Assemblies of God -- P.A.G -- at Buyekera, in Bukoba Municipality causing damage estimated at 4.7m/-.

On same night the assailants torched two churches -- Living Water International (LWI) at Bakoba street causing damage of 4m/- and Evangelical Assemblies of God -- E.A.G at Kibeta ward causing damage estimated at 4.2m/-.

Mr Ollomi said seven suspects were helping police investigations adding that three suspects had so far been arraigned.

He has appealed for cooperation from members of the public to enable law enforcers to nab other suspects still at large. He noted that the police force would offer a reward to any person who will offer valuable information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

The law enforcers should rope in members of the public in their quest to net these hoodlums. Apparently, these highly dangerous criminals lurk among law abiding members of the society and, in most cases, their nefarious activities are known.

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