Yes, illegal gun handlers must be apprehended


IT has been reported that the Police Force has impounded eight firearms, 145 rounds of ammunition, 96 military knives, Mozambican military coats and boots and devices for making explosives.

This is praiseworthy, indefatigable effort by the boys in khaki.

The Police Force also says it has apprehended 368 suspects in connection with the illegal possession of the firearms and other military paraphernalia.

Thirteen of the suspects have already appeared in courts of law to answer criminal charges. It has also come to light that some of the suspects are villains who fled from Rufiji in Coast Region and Kibiti in Lindi region when a crack security outfit was carrying out a special operation following a spate of unexplained killings in these areas last year.

The government made it abundantly clear that no stone would be left unturned in the quest to uncover and apprehend the heinous killers who were mainly targeting members of the Police Force in Kibiti and Mkuranga districts.

The killers, who struck at random, remained silent on their motives. Not many people knew who they were and what they wanted. What baffled the nation was why the morons largely targeted armed police officers and steal their assault rifles.

The cut-throats, who were believed to be carrying out their nefarious activities from a base in the city of Dar es Salaam, or from a hideout deep in the bush, also killed innocent people who were not connected to the Police Force. This, indeed, smacked of terrorism.

A terrorist group could have been sprouting. Ruthless killers such as Boko Haram in Nigeria; the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda; Al Shabaab in Somalia and the late Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda took off in a similar fashion. The killers appeared to be busy collecting military style guns and stashing them away in arsenals possibly in the bush.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa ordered that the killers, who seemed to have military skills, be sought promptly, apprehended and prosecuted. The Police Force has done its work meticulously.

It has apprehended a large number of suspects, 152 of whom have been turned to the Immigration Department. This simply means the suspects are foreigners. Are foreign morons in league with Tanzanian crooks? This could make the situation quite complicated.

What shocks this nation is what appears to be a large number of illegal firearms in highly dangerous hands. These include AK47s, machineguns and high velocity pistols.

Some of the guns have been stolen from military armories in neighbouring countries. The Police Force says it has seized Mozambican military coats, boots and devices for making explosives.

This could be a drop in the bucket. Every stone should be turned in the search for the criminals and the truth behind their motives should be unveiled.

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