Njombe — The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Venance Mabeyo, is in Njombe as the government steps up efforts to end the brutal killings of children in the southern region of Tanzania.
Authorities have confirmed that at least ten children have been killed in Njombe in a period of one month and that the killers were also chopping off the children's reproductive and respiratory organs in the killings that are linked to superstitious beliefs.
The Home Affairs Minister, Mr Kangi Lugola, told the Parliament last week that at least 29 people, including several businesspeople and some traditional healers, had been arrested in connection with the killings.
And on Monday, General Mabeyo held closed door talks with members of the defence and security committee in Njombe on how to contain the killings as well as with a members of a Special Forces that has been deployed to investigate and arrest the killings
General Mabeyo told journalists shortly after the meeting that though the occurrences were still at family level, they have stained the image of Njombe to the rest of Tanzania and beyond, hence he need to stem them as a matter of urgency.
"Security organs work in close cooperation with the army. Being their chairman, I'm obliged to be here. It doesn't mean that the army has officially taken charge of the matter. It has not reached that stage," he said noting however that since the information about the killings has spread the length and breadth of Tanzania and beyond, it has sent shivers down the spines of some Tanzanians.
"Some people have been intimidated within and beyond our borders... .This why we have decided to bring a special team of experts that works with regional authorities in stemming the vice," he said.
He called for calm among Njombe residents as authorities drill down to the root cause of the killings and bring the culprits to book.
"There is no reason to panic. This is not yet a national issue because it involves individual families and the reasons behind the killings are typical family matters," he said.
Security organs, he said, were cooperating in identifying perpetrators and motive behind the killings, insisting that the plans used during the killings were too small for the army to intervene.
The Njombe Regional Police Commander, Ms Renatha Mzinga said so far, the number of suspects who have been questioned in connection with the killings has risen to 30 and that their files have been submitted to the office of the state attorney for further processes.