17 May 2017

Tanzania: Send Army to Curb Coast Killings, Opposition Says

Photo: Morgan Mbabazi/The East African
Tanzanian soldiers in training (file photo).

Dodoma — The Opposition camp in Parliament yesterday asked the government to deploy the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) in three districts of Coast Region to halt the wave of killings.

In his alternative budget speech, the Deputy Shadow Minister for Defence and National Service, Mr Mwita Waitara (Ukonga-Chadema), said the Opposition was concerned by the series of attacks by unknown assailants that have so far resulted into the deaths of 30 people, mostly local government leaders. Police officers have also not been spared either.

Mr Waitara termed the incidents "terror attacks" perpetrated by well-trained individuals, that is why they have so far managed to escape arrest, without their names known or whereabouts exposed.

"There's every indication that police have been tactically beaten by the terrorists. It is for this reason, the Opposition suggests that the TPDF, especially its intelligence unit, should chip in and assist in collecting intelligence and reconnaissance information to expose and take on the killers," reads the Opposition speech.

The latest victim was gunned down on Saturday. The assailants' motives have remained a mystery. The most affected districts are Mkuranga, Kibiti and Rufiji in Coast region.

Police have tightened their guard in the area, but that alone did not stop them from falling prey to the merciless assailants. In April 14 seven police were gunned down. They were returning to camp after a daylong shift. Their camp is 100km from Dar es Salaam and was established in response to activities linked to a shadowy group along the coast that has mounted sporadic attacks on security personnel and local leaders.

The Minister for Home Affairs last week told the parliament as he was tabling his office's budget that the government plans to establish a special police zone in Kibiti to arrest the wave of brutal killings in the area.

Earlier, reading his budget speech in parliament, the Minister for Defence and National Service Dr Hussein Mwinyi said TPDF has continued to work shoulder to shoulder with other security organs to flush out among other things terror elements in the country.

"TPDF participated in Operation Amboni II IN Tanga region from May, 2016 to December, 2016 where the gunmen were contained," said Dr Mwinyi.

The minister also asked the Parliament to pass his estimates of Sh1.72 trillion. According to the minister, Sh1.5 trillion would be for recurrent expenditure and Sh219 billion would go towards development.

For this ending year, the ministry was allocated with Sh1.73 trillion and as of April 2017 Sh1.19 trillion or 69.1 per cent had already been disbursed.


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