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18 FFU Injured In Hunting Somali Bandits


About 18 policemen on the mission to hunt notorious Somali bandits in Northern Tanzania have serious injured in a motor accident along the boarder with Kenya.

The Acting Arusha Regional Police Commander, ACP Wenceslaus Magoha said yesterday here that the accident which occurred at Namanga in Monduli District on Saturday morning, involved the Field Force Officers. According to him the police were driving in a vehicle, STG 897 to Kimbeine village to hunt Somali bandit following a tip that the trouble makers and notorious killers, Somali Bandits were in the village.

He told the press that the conditions of 10 policemen including the Namamga Officer Commanding Station (OCS), Duwan Nyanda, were serious injured and were being hospitalized at the regional Mount Meru Hospital. "All the policemen were from the Field Force Unit (FFU) and they were on their way to hunt the bandits," he said.

The accident which occurred after the vehicle overturned few kilometers from Namanga after it's driver, Corporal Gabriel failed to control the vehicle, now adds to almost three accidents for the period of 40 days in Tanzania. At least 18 people have died from these accidents which occurred in various places of the country.

Efforts by Tanzania and Kenya to strengthen security around their boarders to arrest Somali bandits with high calibre weapons, appear to be completely ineffective. In last month some seven armed Somalis raided Masaai tribesmen at Kitumbaine in Ngorongoro district and stole about Tshs2.8 million. Maasai people were raided as they were on the way to Monduli district for an auction mart.

Being ex-solders with sub machine guns, Somali bandits fired gun shoots to the air which scarred Maasai people who were in a lorry, and stole apart from money, several properties and other belongings whose amount could not be established. Somali bandits continue to threaten lives of Maasai people in northern Tanzania.

Digodigo village in Loliando in Arusha region was attached mid April. During that incident two villagers were killed and several others were injured. For more than three years now, the Somali bandits have been launching attacks on villages in northern Tanzania, especially areas cross to the border of Kenya and Tanzania.

In March a team of the FFU was dispatched by air and road in Ngorongoro District to hunt for several armed Somali bandits who killed a pastor. The Pastor, Mr. John Majoel of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) was shot to death on his back after he allegedly refused to get out of his car, Toyota Land Cruiser.

The Pastor was traveling with four European Missionaries to Ngorongoro, one of the famous Tanzania's National Park, on routine pastoral work. In April this year, the policemen from Kenya and Tanzania signed a pact to intensify the joint security operations along their common boarders, but their effort is unfruitful. Residents suggest the deployment of an army unit to curb constant attacks mounted by the Somali bandits in the area.

Suggestions follows the endless attacks which since 1998 have killed at least a dozen people and robbed millions of shillings from residents in the region. Two years ago, Somali bandits murdered the Ngorongoro District Commanding Officer, SSP Issaya Kong'oa, and about 10 Maasai tribesmen. Residents in the area want the government to deploy the arm, but the government is still reluctant to implement the idea.

"The killings of residents in Ngorongoro district by armed bandits does not warrant the deployment of the army," so says the Minister for Home Affairs, Mohammed Seif Khatib. Khatib says the number of Tanzanians killed by Somali bandits was still small if deaths in other parts of the Tanzania were taken into considerations.

The army will normally be deployed if there was tension between one nation and the other, he says, urging that the police force will continue to provide security along the common boarder with Kenya. The residents say that Police have failed to provide security in the area, as Somalis were armies with advanced fighting tactics.



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