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Gemstone dealers from Mahenge brutally killed at Pande Forests (4)

Friday March 05 2021
mahenge pic
By The Citizen Reporter

Many incomprehensible things happened on the night of January 14, 2006, after the three Mahenge gemstone dealers were arrested together with their driver and the police convoy carrying them towards the Pande Forests.

On that evening, the Urafiki OCS, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Juma Ndaki had reported to his office as usual. His radio call was on. He was among the security officers who received reports of a cash-in-transit robbery in a Bidco car at around 6pm.

While his officers --- ASP Makelle --- were leaving to follow up on the incident, he remained in office continuing with other duties while waiting for more information about the incident from his team.

He later received a report from ASP Makelle about the incident via his Radio Call; that officers from University police post had arrested four people with a pistol and the money they suspected had been looted from the Bidco's sales car.

But even then he did not hear well how much money ASP Makelle mentioned, whether it was Sh3 million or Sh5 million.

Frantic search by relatives

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Later, while SSP Ndaki was still in office, two people arrived. These were Mchami and his wife Jane Joseph. Mchami and Jongo were engaged in mining activities together in Mahenge.

They had come to the station after receiving information from  Ngonyani who was in Mahenge that Jongo had been arrested by police officers at his home where he had gone to give his wife money for up keep.

Had things gone according to plan, Ngonyani would have been on this trip with Jongo when they left Dar es Salaam for Arusha, but fortunately, he did not travel with them. He had an emergency, so he gave the Jongo family some of his minerals to sell to him.

At the station Mchami and his wife met SSP Ndaki and asked him if their relatives who had been arrested by the police had been brought to the station.

SSP Ndaki responded that he had not seen anyone brought there as a suspect. Instead, he directed them to go to the Mabatini Police Station, Kijitonyama for more information.

Mchami and his wife left for Mabatini Police Station, but did not find their relatives there. They decided to go to the Oysterbay Police Station but they were not there as well. They did not give up. They made their way to the Central Police Station where they found a female officer named Mwanne, whom they told their plight.

She searched for the names of the Jongos in a book but did not find them. He explained that it was not easy for people arrested in Sinza to be taken to the Central Police Station.

The response did not stop them from searching for their loved ones. They went to Msimbazi Police Station and then later to Magomeni Police Station without success.

Mchami and his wife later returned to SSP Ndaki and informed him that they had not found their relatives at all the police stations they had visited.

SSP Ndaki on his part said he had heard nothing new. He told them that he had not seen any of them being taken to the station. They had nothing to do. They decided to leave, with great concern for the future of their loved ones.

Jongo’s car is taken to Urafiki Police Station

Corporal Nyangelera arrived at the Urafiki Police Station driving Jongo's car as instructed. SSP Ndaki asked Corporal Nyangelera and his colleague where they came from. They identified themselves as officers from the University Police Station.

Satisfied with their identification, SSP Ndaki did not continue to interrogate them. Corporal Nyangelera handed over the vehicle to the station, but after the handover, instead of leaving, they remained at the station.

Jongo and three others killed at Pande Forests

SP Christopher Bageni convoy with three Mahenge traders and a taxi driver continued until they had passed the residential areas and then entered the dense forest.

This is the Pande Forest, located in the Mbezi area past Makabe, Kinondoni District, just outside Dar es Salaam.

“This is the place, but there are many leopards here,” the officer they had picked at Mbezi Police station was heard telling SP Bageni. It was a place he had been on many occasions, for he knew it just too well.

The convoy moved a little forward, and then SP Bageni ordered the driver of their car to stop and turn the car around. Then the Land  Rover Defender carrying the Jongos also turned. It stops at a distance of between 15 and 20 meters from the SP Bageni’s car.

SP Christopher Bageni, Corporal Rashid and Corporal Saad Alawi descended. Corporal Rajabu and the officer from Mbezi remained in the vehicle. While still in the car Koplo Rajabu turned on the radio. He immediately heard of reports of a robbery in Kijitonyama area.

As he continued listening to the radio, a loud bang was heard. He got out of the car and moved closer to the parked Land Rover Defender.

As he approached, he saw a man being got out of the car and made to lie down on his face. He then saw Corporal Saad Alawi take out a gun.

Without wasting time, Corporal Saad shot the man at close range, he was clinical in dispensing his duties, his precision was not of a man doing something g for the first time. He oozed experience in each of his moves. On watching closely he saw three others were lying down he had shot them all!

Sabinus Chigumbi aka Jongo, Ephraim Sabinus Chigumbi, Protasi Lunkomba and the taxi driver Juma Ndugu had been killed in cold blood. They were all shot in the head from the back. The area where they were shot was a pool of blood.

Apart from the body search no statement was written and neither were the suspects ever questioned as a requirement of the law.

They had been condemned to die by a cum-firing squad, whether this was the new procedure in the police force at the time remains but a mystery.

Corporal Rajabu had identified the Landrover Defender following them on their way to the forest as the Oysterbay Police Station, after spotting fellow officers at the station.

After Corporal Saad Alawi was done with his gun still smoking, SP Bageni ordered the bodies to be loaded onto a Landrover Defender that brought them to the forest. He also ordered Staff Sergeant James to oversee the vehicle and the corpse. Then the convoy started its journey back to Dar es Salaam.

The killings in the Pande Forest confused the officer who was picked from Mbezi Luis Station. He did not want to be taken back to the station where they had taken him. Instead he asked to left along the road. They dropped him off and then they continued with their journey back to the City.

Zombe arrives at Urafiki Police Station issues orders

About two 8pm, SSP Ndaki was outside the station standing with the Kinondoni District Police Commander (OCD), SSP Mantage, looking at exhibits of vehicles handed over to him at the station.

He immediately saw the car ASP Makelle was using being parked at the station. When he finished parking the car he went to his office.

About 30 minutes later after ASP Makelle had arrived at the station, SP Bageni and his team also arrived at the station. He descended from the car and leaving Corporal Bakari in the car.

When he arrived he found OCD SSP Mantage still at the station. Heasked SSP Mantage to testify to the exhibit obtained from the crime scene. SP Christopher Bageni asked ASP Makelle to bring the Brief case he had.

Inside SP Bageni’s vehicle, Corporal Rajabu gets a chance to interrogate Corporal Saad Alawi about the Pande Forest Killing.

"Who are the people you killed in the forest?", Corporal Rajabu asked  Corporal Saad.

"They are people who were brought in by the University police officers," replied Corporal Saad.

 “Why did you kill them? Corporal Rajabu asks.

“SP Bageni ordered me to kill them,” Corporal Saad replied.

After ASP Makelle had brought the briefcase, they all entered SSP Ndaki’s office and opened it only to find that the amount was Sh2,775,000 and not Sh5 million as had been claimed.

SP Bageni  asked  ASP Makelle what had happened to the money.

It was at that point that RCO, ACP Zombe, who was at the time acting as the Regional Police Commander Dar es Salaam (Ag RPC) entered SSP Ndaki’s office.

 He is then told that the amount had been decimated, he then gave orders to OCD SSP Mantage that the full amount should be brought.

After giving the orders he left and went back to his office.

SP Bageni then took the briefcase and the rest of the money and went straight to his car. He ordered the driver to leave for his office.

Upon arrival at the station, SP Bageni ordered his men to resume their other routine duties.

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