POLICE in Rukwa Region have apprehended 37 people for allegedly committing various crimes including three suspects in possession of 1,500 live ammunitions.
It was alleged that the trio illegally bought the ammunitions from seven fishermen, thinking the glittering live ammunitions were gold. Rukwa Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr William Mwampaghale confirmed the arrest of the 37 suspects while addressing journalists here in the municipality this week.
He further explained that the arrest of the three suspects was made possible after the police were tipped about the incident by law-abiding citizens. The RPC further said police officers certified that the live ammunitions could have been used in heavy weaponry such as AK 47 and SAR.
Narrating the incident, the RPC confirmed the three suspects were arrested on September 08, this year at Korongwe village along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Nkasi District.
"Preliminary investigations done by the law enforcers have disclosed that seven fishermen who were fishing in Lake Tanganyika uncovered 1,500 live bullets kept into two metallic boxes hidden in a cave located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
"The curious fishermen opened the metallic boxes which contained the ammunitions which they thought were gold ... they sold what they believed were precious metallic minerals to the three suspects" explained the RPC.
Mr Mwampaghale further explained that, when the trio was then thoroughly grilled by police officers declined to explain why they bought the ammunitions from the fishermen and where they were taking them to.
"Though they declined to explain why they procured the ammunitions from the fishermen, they confessed to have known that what they had purchased were authentic live bullets meant for AK 47 and SAR which are military arsenals," he said.
He further said that thorough investigation is underway in a bid to uncover what were their motives.
In related incident two people believed to be poachers have been nabbed by police officers for illegally possessing 14 live bullets for shotgun.
The duo was also caught red handed in illegal possession of several national trophies including 14 pieces of tortoise scales, carcass of a wild animal, thorns of porcupine, seven wires for trapping wild animals, two spears and two arrows.
The RPC confirmed that the incident occurred on August 28, this year at Kashai - Eden B area here in municipality. He further disclosed that the suspects will soon be arraigned once preliminary investigations of their case are completed.
In a related development, the RPC confirmed that 31 people believed to be thieves have been arrested for allegedly possessing 21 stolen motorbikes popularly known as bodaboda whose ownerships are still questionable.
"Among them, seven suspects have been arraigned while three of them were sentenced to serve jail terms. The rest will soon appear before the court once preliminary investigations of their cases are over," said the RPC.
He further explained that the suspects were arrested following a special operation meant to seize motorcycles with mechanical defaults, ending up arresting 31 people and seizing 21 motorbikes which, were allegedly stolen by them.
He said the operation took place from August 04 to September 04, this year. According to the RPC, police officers arrested an incorrigible house breaker whose name was featuring as a police most wanted criminal.
He said the suspect is most wanted in neighbouring regions for allegedly engaging himself in criminal activities largely house breaking and stealing valuable items.
Mr Mwampaghale further informed that the suspect was caught in possession of stolen valuable items, being the property of an American citizen, Mr Jerome Long.
He listed the stolen items as two computers, a printer, two small bags an adapter for computer, a charger for mobile phone device, a USB cable, two tea cups- Chinese cowries, a heart rate monitoring machine and a metallic kettle.
"The suspect committed the crime on August 17 this year and he was arrested on September 6 around noontime at Kamwanda village, Kirando Ward in Nkasi District along the shore of Lake Tanganyika.