Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, August 25, 2021.
Man kills four in armed encounter in Dar before neutralized
At least three police officers and one civilian were killed in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday following a shootout with a man who was on a shooting spree roaming the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road from the Selandar Bridge area, according to Operations and Training Commissioner of Police Liberatus Sabas.
In a Twitter post, President Samia Suluhu Hassan ordered the police to investigate the incident to uncover the real motive behind it, sending her condolences to the families of the three fallen police officers and the one civilian who was identified as a guard for AGS International Movers. At least six other people are said to have been injured during the standoff.
The man, who wielded two assault rifles and took Dar es Salaam in a momentous shock, was identified by family members who preferred anonymity as Hamza Hassan Mohamed. The thirty-year-old man is reported to be a resident of Upanga, Dar es Salaam.
Videos shared on social media showed police officers involved in an operation to round up the assailant before he is gunned down in the middle of the road outside the French Embassy gate. Videos showed the man beating his chest in a show of bravery and cockiness.
He briefly brought the traffic along the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road to a standstill, with both private and commuter transport temporarily stopping movements. There are reports that some car owners even abandoned their vehicles and run for cover.
The Selandar Bridge area borders Upanga and Oysterbay and is surrounded by residents of foreign missions such as the French Embassy, Switzerland Embassy, Kenyan Embassy, Russian Embassy. It is also close to financial institutions such as Stanbic Bank and KCB Bank.
The US Embassy in Dar es Salaam was among the first foreign mission in Tanzania to warn its citizens against being around the area where the mayhem was being reported. In its security alert, the Embassy asked its citizens to avoid the area, saying: “There are reports of an ongoing armed encounter near the French Embassy on Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road.”
ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe urged Tanzania’s security organs in a Twitter post “to fully investigate what happened today and to understand the cause.” Zitto said Tanzanians need to be informed whether what happened was a lone event or one of greater security implications for our nation.
“At times like this it is easy to look for scapegoats and that can lead us to vilify certain groups or individuals,” said Zitto in a series of tweets he sent from Nairobi, Kenya, enroute from Zambia where he had attended the swearing-in of President Hakainde Hichilema. “I beseech my fellow citizens to refrain from that. We are all pained by what we have witnessed, but we need to rise above it and not allow ourselves to sink.”
In a statement, CHADEMA Director of Protocol, Communications and External Affairs John Mrema urged Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro to “thoroughly investigate the incident” to find out its motivations. He added: “[IGP Sirro] should improve the intelligence of the police so that they can prevent events like these before they happened.”
Samia criticizes prolonged remanding of suspected criminals
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Wednesday directed the Tanzania Police Force to sit down with other important criminal justice stakeholders and examine the available possibilities of amending the country’s laws that allow for prolonged remanding of alleged criminals.
Speaking during a working meeting between senior officers from the Police Force and regional police commanders in Dar es Salaam, President Samia said that prolonged remanding of alleged criminals is not only a burden to the government but also amounts to the violation of basic rights and freedoms that all Tanzanians must enjoy.
At least two laws allow for an alleged criminal to be remanded in Tanzania namely the Criminal Procedure Act, Cap. 20 R.E 2019 and the Regional Administration Act of 1997. Lawyers and other activists working in the area of criminal justice reform have been calling for the amendment of the laws, arguing that some of their provisions violate the constitution and other international covenants on human rights.
“People have their fundamental freedoms as human beings,” said Samia while inaugurating the meeting. “I urge that [the Police Force] sit down with other stakeholders and examine the possibility of amending our laws that allow people to be remanded for a very long time.
“In other countries, a person is not arrested until the investigation into the alleged crime is complete. Once arrested, they are remanded for a period of one week or less and soon they are brought to court where they are either convicted or acquitted.
“You cannot find a government carries the burden of providing for thousands of remand prisoners just because the investigations into their alleged crimes are not complete. Please look into these issues so that we can be able to provide the best services to our people.”
President Samia said that a lot of cases are stuck in courts either because of a delayed investigation or simply because there is no evidence with which to convict the accused. She called these cases “trumped-up.”
Addressing the Inspector-General of Police Simon Sirro, the Head of State said: “I suggest that for those cases that you are certain that their investigations are not going to be completed, those people should be released [from prisons].
“But for those cases that you are sure their investigations will be completed, I suggest that the investigations be fast-tracked in accordance with the procedure you have put in place, [of making sure investigations are completed] within six months or a year.”
Samia receives credentials of five new diplomats
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Wednesday received the credentials of five new diplomats who will be representing their countries in Tanzania. The envoys from Nigeria, India, Netherlands, Burkina Faso and Guinea submitted their credentials to the Head of State at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The diplomats who presented their credentials to President Samia were Hamisu Umar Takalmawa (Nigeria), Biyana Srikanta Pradhan (India), Weibe Jakob De Boer (Netherlands), Madina Diaby Kassamba (Burkina Faso) and Gaussou Touré (Guinea).
Madina Diaby Kassamba and Gaussou Touré will be based in Nairobi and Addis Ababa respectively.
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