Police, Tanapa probe Lake Manyara national park chaos
- The Tanapa Commissioner of Conservation, William Mwakilema, told journalists here on Wednesday that the park authority has launched investigations into the claims.
Arusha. The Police and the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) are investigating the death of one person on Monday near the gate of Lake Manyara National Park.
The death happened during a confrontation between residents of nearby Mto Wa Mbu town and the national park rangers over claims that the rangers were responsible for the drowning of some fishermen.
Officials from the Tanapa headquarters here as well as the Lake Manyara National Park and police investigators were yesterday at the site of the shooting in the shallow waters north of the lake.
Until late afternoon Wednesday, they had not issued a statement on the progress made or whether there were indeed more casualties.
The Tanapa Commissioner of Conservation, William Mwakilema, told journalists here on Wednesday that the park authority has launched investigations into the claims.
He was categorically clear that he would not confirm if those missing after the scuffle had drowned or not or if his rangers were responsible for that.
“As Tanapa, we are only aware of one death of a fisherman who was identified as Hassan Said. We will investigate if there are more deaths,” he pointed out.
His remarks corroborate information from the Police Force in the region, which said only one person has been confirmed dead in the chaos that nearly brought the busy township to a standstill.
According to the Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commander of Police (ACP) Justine Masejo, seven people were injured, adding that reports of scores of people drowning would be investigated.
“Chaos erupted at Mto wa Mbu when local fishermen marched in protest, claiming that their colleagues were missing because they had been forcefully drowned in the lake,” RPC Mwakilema stated.
The deceased was reportedly killed when the police tried to disperse the protestors in Mto Wa Mbu, who demanded justice after information went around that a boat had been drowned by the rangers.
According to the RPC, 12 suspects in the chaos have been arrested pending further investigations.
Reports indicate that chaos erupted in the lake when the park rangers who were patrolling the waters arrested three local fishermen.
The villagers had allegedly trespassed into the Lake Manyara National Park precinct and were busy harvesting fish in the reserve’s jurisdiction.
Further reports had it that irate protestors vandalised the Jangwani Village Office by smashing doors and windows, then pulled down the National Flag before destroying it.
The incident is said to have resulted from territorial conflicts between residents of Jangwani Village, mapped within Monduli District, and the management of the National Park regarding the boundaries of Lake Manyara.
Early this month, experts from Monduli district went round to draw the boundaries between the park and the village, but it seems the residents were not satisfied with the new markings.
The Tanapa boss said the border check followed incidents in which the villagers allegedly took away the border markings.