Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fear engulfs village as killing of police, leaders persists


By John Namkwahe @johnteck3

Kibiti. Fear has engulfed Mkengeni Village, Kibiti District, Coast Region, where eight police officers were brutally killed on Thursday.

Villagers said yesterday they were still trying to come to terms with the latest killings, but are even more worried that they are still in the dark over the security situation in the area.

“I don’t know why all these senseless killings are happening in our district, and I don’t know for how long we will continue to live in fear,” said Ms Mwajuma Saidi, one of the villagers who spoke to The Citizen on Saturday.

“We want to get back to our peaceful and happy life. Certainly, the government has to do something to stop these killings,” she said.

Villagers recalled similar attacks that have haunted their area since May last year. The target has mainly been targeting local leaders and police officers.

According to Ms Saidi, local government offices in their village have been deserted as the leaders seek safety elsewhere.

On Thursday, Mr Athuman Omar, another villager, said he heard gun shots while he was working on his farm, just a short distance from the area where the police officers were attacked. “I heard the gun shots, but I actually thought it was police officers shooting bandits. When I arrived at the scene of the shooting I was shocked to see the bodies of police officers,’’ he told The Citizen on Saturday yesterday.

The community has called on the government to beef up security in the area by maintaining a heavy presence of police officers.

Home Affairs minister Mwigulu Nchemba visited the scene of the shooting yesterday. He was accompanied by Coast Regional Police Commander Onesmo Lianga, Coast Regional Commissioner Evarest Ndikilo and other senior government officials.

A few hours later, the high-profile delegation headed to the district’s commanding post in Bungu village, which is six kilometres from the scene of the attack.

The commanding post was established by the police recently in a bid to boost the security in the area.

Addressing members of the community who had gathered in Bungu village, Mr Nchemba said he had tasked the Coastal RPC to conduct a thorough investigation into the shooting, and identify the people involved.

He assured the people that the government would continue supporting the police to stop the wanton killings, not only in the Coast Region, but across the country.

“My heartfelt condolonces goes to the families that have lost their loved ones. It should not discourage you (police) from serving the nation. I want you to conduct investigations and identify the culprits who have caused such a loss to our brothers,” he said.

The RC, Eng Ndikilo, said his office would cooperate fully with the police to ensure that the culprits were apprehended and punished. He also urged the police to take the tragedy that has hit them as a challenge, and encouraged them to continue with operations aimed at curbing further attacks targeting police officers and village government leaders.

“It is shocking and sad. But I want you not to give up this battle. The government will help you make sure the attacks are history in this area.”