Dar es Salaam. Grief and sadness surround the family of Akwilina Akwiline, a student at the National Institute of Transport (NIT), who was allegedly killed after police fired live ammunition in the air on Friday as they attempted to disperse Chadema demonstrators.
Akwilina’s sister, Ms Tugolena Uiso, said the family received phone calls regarding news that Akwilina was shot in the head on Friday evening and they were supposed to go to Mwananyamala Hospital for more details. Ms Uiso said they rushed to Mwananyamala Hospital to confirm the reports.
According to her, some of the family members yesterday went to Oysterbay Police Station to seek further information regarding Akwilina’s death. However, she couldn’t divulge details of their meeting with the police.
“What I can only say is that police officers promised us they would take the body to Muhimbili National Hospital for postmortem,” said Ms Uiso.
According to her, Akwilina, who was a first-year student at NIT, was born in Olele Ward in Rombo District, Kilimanjaro Region.
Speaking to The Citizen, the conductor of the bus that Akwilina had boarded said the incident occurred at Kinondoni Mkwajuni as the bus was heading to Makumbusho from Mabibo. Mr Abbas Abdallah, the bus conductor, further said the student boarded the bus at NIT at around 5pm. “There were some sudden screams from passengers. Before I could comprehend what was going on, I felt some sharp pain tearing at my right ear and I immediately started bleeding,” explained Mr Abdallah, who was also injured by a stray bullet, allegedly fired by the police.
Mr Abdallah said the driver, Shabaan Mohamed, took the bus to Vijana Police Post before taking the deceased to Mwananyamala hospital, where the body was received and preserved. Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed that one person had been shot as police attempted to disperse Chadema followers at a rally on Friday evening.
Mr Mambosasa said: “The demonstrators attacked the police with stones. So, in self defence, police fired live bullets as well as applied tear gas to try and disperse the crowd. I, thus, suspect that one of the bullets accidentally hit the person.”
In his explanation, Mr Mambosasa did not clarify whether the victim had died or not.
The main opposition Chadema accused police of shooting dead the female student and seriously injuring at least four other people while trying to disperse a peaceful demonstration. Many people have since taken to social media to condemn the police.