Police step up deployment to curb 'Panya Road' menace

Police’s spokesman, Mr David Misime. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Increased number of police officers now promises security for residents who have suffering from gang activities

Dar es Salaam. At least 300 more police officers have been deployed in various locations of Dar es Salaam as authorities seek to contain a gang of youth who commit criminals activities in different parts of the city.
This comes amid reports that a gang of criminals on Tuesday invaded a Kawe neighbourhood at night and killed a second year student at the University of Dar es Salaam’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Maria Basso Paschal.
Armed with machetes and other deadly weapons, the youth - believed to be about 30 - raided homes randomly and robbed people of valuables, forcing authorities to act.

Speaking during a public rally at Zingiziwa in Chanika, Ilala District, the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Mr Amos Makalla, said the government has launched a manhunt and that parents and guardians of the youth who engage in criminal activities would soon start looking for them in police stations and hospitals.
“These panya road [the popular name of youthful criminals in Dar es Salaam] have parents. They are our children, but since some of you have failed to discipline them, we will deal with them and as we are talking, we have deployed over 300 police officers in various streets,” he said.
“From now on, if you don’t see your child, try to visit police stations and hospital wards at Amana, Mwananyamala, and Mwaisela at Muhimbili,” he said.
Speaking on a local radio station, the police spokesperson, David Misime said the law enforcers were doing everything within their means to end the situation, urging the community to stop publicising the criminal activities, which, he said, were being perpetuated by a few individuals.
He said those behind the criminal activities will be arrested and dealt with in accordance with the law.
“We will hunt those who have killed…,” he said.

Painful experience
Meanwhile, Maria Paschal’s mother, Ms Cecilia Marko, yesterday narrated how the criminals killed her daughter, saying she had been informed that it all started when the criminals conducted an operation in search of money and smartphones by breaking into people’s houses.
Ms Marko - who last saw her daughter on Friday when she came to help her with domestic chores – said she had been informed that on the fateful day, the criminals managed to rob a smartphone from her daughter.
As they started leaving her place, her daughter managed to identify one of the criminals who she named. “Now when they were leaving, Maria was familiar with one of the young men and said out loud: Are you doing this to me?  I already know you.  Then they returned and that was how they killed her,” she narrated.
Sina Ismael, who lives in one of the rooms that were raided, said it was around 10:00pm on Tuesday when she retired to bed.
“At around 1:00am, I suddenly heard doors being slammed. Mt earlier feeling was that some neighbours were fighting – mostly likely, married ones – so I kept sleeping,” she narrated.
With the slamming of doors continuing, said Ms Ismael, she decided to peep through the window when she saw several young people holding traditional weapons and who looked set for a specific criminal undertaking.
“I had to move the table and buckets of water to the door but before I had finished, someone kicked my door and spilled water all over the room. When they entered they told me to give them money. I told them I didn’t have, so they took my phone and my wallet and left,” she said.
She said she knew some of them but before they left, they slapped her in the face and with a flat sword on her back.
The exercise continued from one room to the other.
“They were many. They were also strong. They entered one room after the other and that was precisely why the neighbours were afraid of intervening or waking up…They all prayed for their lives,” she said.

Former first lady Salma Kikwete (right) consoles Cecilia Marko (centre), mother of Maria Basso, who was killed by a gang of youth at Kawe in Dar es Salaam yesterday. PHOTO | BAKARI KIANGO

Among the mourners who arrived at the area was the Member of Parliament of Mchinga in Lindi Region, Ms Salma Kikwete who briefly said: “I have come to offer my condolences. I am a daughter of Kawe”.

According to Ms Marko, her daughter will be laid to rest on September 17, 2022 at Mwenge Cemetery.