The story how gemstone dealers from Mahenge were brutally killed (1)

Monday March 01 2021
mahenge pic
By Bernard James

Dar es Salaam. It is on Saturday, January 7, 2006, two gemstone dealers Sabinus Chigumbi aka Jongo and his brother Ephraim Sabinus Chigumbi leave Mahenge in Morogoro for Arusha with a stopover in Dar es Salaam using Jongo’s car, a Toyota Land cruiser Prado.

It was a journey they had planned to undertake just after the festive season had ended.

The two were involved in the extraction and sale of ruby ​​and spinal minerals in their mines in Epanko village, Mahenge.

Along with them was Protasi Lunkombe. He was the younger brother Mathias Lunkombe (Jongo's business partner). Protasi, who is also Jongo's neighbor, later became a State witness in the murder trial.

Also present was Jongo’s uncle, Emmanuel Ekonga, who was the driver of the car they were using. Also present were Jongo's two daughters, Theobister and Bernadetta.

The purpose of the trip was to sell their minerals and also to  take the two girls to school, who were studying at Mukidoma Secondary School. The minerals they carried were estimated at between Sh150 and Sh200 million


The traders arrived in Dar es Salaam and checked in at the Bondeni Hotel in the Magomeni; very close to Jangwani. Jongo’s uncle Ekonga (driver) decided to go to his home because he was a resident of Dar es Salaam.


The next day ( on January 8, 2016) the traders left for Arusha with high hopes of earning millions of shillings after selling their minerals.

The journey started well and when they arrived in Arusha they started by taking their children to Mukidoma Secondary School located in User River and then they checked in at Manu Hotel.

The next day, January 9, they reached out to their customers and successfully sold part of their minerals. They sold only a small quantity worth Sh18 million, but were only paid Sh8 million in cash after agreeing with the buyer that he would deposit the remaining Sh10 million on Jongo's account.

They again sold another piece for Sh1.5 milioni. The business had not gone as planned; they had to return to Dar es Salaam as soon as possible.

Back in Dar es Salaam

On January 12, 2006, the businessmen arrived in Dar es Salaam and just like on the first occasion, they were again booked at Bondeni Hotel.

While the Jongo and Co were on their way to Dar es Salaam from Arusha, Mathias Lunkombe and his co-mining licensee, Venance Mchami, left Mahenge for Dar es Salaam with the intention of buying equipment to facilitate mining.

The passenger bus they were traveling in broke down so they had to sleep in Morogoro and only arrived in Dar es Salaam on January 13.

Mchami went to his house and Lunkombe headed to Bondeni Hotel as he also loved staying at the hotel whenever he was in Dar es Salaam. They agreed to meet the next day.

On that same day, Ekonga (Jongo driver) took their car --- Land Cruiser Prado to Yamungu Mengi garage located in Ilala Bungoni for minor repairs.

He was taken to the garage by Vasco Kamandu, the driver of a daladala owned by Jongo. Kamundu was acquainted with a car mechanic, Rajabu Saidi. However, repairs were not completed that day. They left the car in the garage.

Jongo and his friends spent the day buying their necessities such as phones and car accessories.

January 14, 2006: shadow of death

On the morning of January 14, Protasi left his colleagues and went to back Morogoro to see his sister after receiving information that she was ill.

Mchami and Lunkombe met as they agreed and headed to the city in various shops to check and purchase equipment for their mining operations. After completing the task, they parted ways and agreed to meet the next day.

Jongo on the other hand was in brisk business after he sold another consignment worth Sh15 million.

At about 9am they arrived at Yamungu Mengi garage where their Car was undergoing repairs in a grey Toyota Chaser with a registration number T 617 AAS. This car was owned by a certain Juma, a resident of Manzese, a driver whom they loved to use while in the city.

Meanwhile at the garage, Ekonga and Vasco were there waiting the car to get repaired.

Jongo in the meantime sent his younger brother Vasco to town to buy headlamps. When he returned he came with bad news; that there was a robbery that had taken place in the city.

At the moment the situation is bad, one has to be very careful with money," Jongo was heard saying without knowing the shadow of death was hanging on his head. As the conversation progressed, Jongo needed a soda, Said, directed him to a nearby and popular joint called, Bonga Bar.

Later, at about 1pm, Jongo and his companions went out for lunch at the Yamungu Mengi restaurant, then returned to the garage.

On the other hand, Lunkombe phoned Mchami informing him that he had met his relatives who had returned from Arusha and that he had gone out with them to have fun and promised to meet him the next morning.

At 4pm the relatives returned to Bonga bar and while there, they were telephoned by a fellow miner from Mahenge, Alex Ngonyani, asking them to go to his house in Sinza Palestina and give his wife a small amount of money for upkeep.

Before embarking on the journey to Sinza (a suburb in Dar es Salaam), the mechanic informed them that the repairs to their car had been completed.

Not knowing what would happen to them in the next few hours, Jongo asked the technician to go and test the car before handing it over.

In the meantime they used Juma’s taxi to go to Sinza.

Get to know what happened in Sinza in the next episode ………………..