Tanzania villagers recount attack at border with Mozambique

Saturday November 16 2019

Tandahimba District Commissioner Sebastian

Tandahimba District Commissioner Sebastian Waryuba. 

By Haika Kimaro @TheCitizenTZ

Mtwara. Some victims of the Tandahimba early Tuesday morning gun attack have recounted how their assailants sneaked into the village and hoodwinked them that they were soldiers, who wanted to address them.

The incident at Ngongo Village in Tandahimba District on the Tanzania-Mozambique border left six people dead and seven others injured.

Narrating, Mr Ramadhan Abdallah said the killers arrived in the early hours of Tuesday as villagers engaged in farming and claimed to be soldiers from the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF).

He recalled the words of one of the killers who claimed saying: “We have come to provide security in this valley (within the Ruvuma River) so that you can conduct your farming activities without any problem because you will also be helping us about security issues.

“But, we want you to give us your phone numbers so that you can call us in case you see suspicious looking people.”

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Mr Abdallah said there were 11 villagers who had showed up but later two more joined them to make 13.

“So when a colleague with a phone started reading out his phone number, the strangers loaded their guns before opening fire,” recounted Mr Abdallah.

He narrated further that following the shooting, some villagers died on the spot while he was badly wounded.

He said he managed to haul himself to a hiding place from where he could see the strangers setting on fire their make-shift shelters.

“I hid myself in a nearby thicket as the attackers destroyed property,” recounted Abdallah.

Another victim, Mohamed Said, recounted that as they were gathered, he asked the armed men, who were six in number, whether he could smoke something that they didn’t object to, something that made him not to suspect any ill intention they harboured.

“They carried big guns. One of them allowed me to roll tobacco for smoking without a problem. As I prepared to make my tobacco roll, that’s when they started shooting,” recounted Said.

Tandahimba District Hospital Medical Officer-in-charge George Mlawa said the wounded were received at the hospital and that one of them had to immediately be operated on to save his life.

“The seriously wounded victim had a wound in the abdomen, whereby it appeared that a bullet had pierced through the back. While conducting the operation, we discovered that a part of his colon was ripped by a bullet and we had to remove the destroyed part and rejoined it, but the colon had a hole too and we had to work on it,” said Dr Mlawa.

Tandahimba District Commissioner Sebastian Waryuba said until yesterday there was no further information about the victims, who were received at the district hospital for medical attention except that one of them would be referred to Ligula Regional Hospital.

“The information that I have until noon is that the victims are still receiving treatment with the exception of one, who will be referred to Mtwara Regional Hospital for further treatment. However, the victim has come to his senses as he can now speak well,” said Waryuba.