Cop killers must pay for their folly


THIS year’s Easter festival has come and gone. It was a festive season that saw Tanzanian Christians and other well wishers join the rest of the world in celebrations.

President Magufuli urged the wananchi to adhere to the tenets of good conduct and uphold peace. In Kibiti District, Coast Region, however, residents were still reeling from a shocking spectacle that saw security agents fighting suspected armed bandits.

Villagers at Uchembe in the district fled in disarray when their farmland turned into a battle field. The agents had cornered a number of suspected bandits who, last Thursday, killed eight police officers and grabbed some of their weapons. The agents had staged a carefully planned ambush and caught some of the armed bandits almost off guard.

What ensued was a fierce battle. When the dust resettled four suspects were lying on the turf, having been mowed down in the hail of bullets. The crack outfit of security agents recovered two of the seven stolen guns from the slain villains. Other suspects escaped.

The village must have looked like a killing field--an unfortunate scenario, indeed. For the security agents, this was successful retaliation. This brand of hardcore bandits, whose forays smack of callousness and smart military skills, are getting worrisome to the nation.

The incident at Uchembe, which marred the residents’ mood for Easter, is, to say the least, frightening for all peace lovers in this country. It is unthinkable that heartless morons should target police officers on noble duty, kill some of them and cart away their arms.

This has happened umpteen times and is, in fact, bearing down on everyone’s nerves. This is a strange crop of criminals. Security agents should leave no stone unturned in their search from for these cruel cop killers.

And why are they stealing military style guns? The motive behind the escapades of these psychopaths should be established and shot down with ruthless precision. What shocks this nation, in similar vein, is what appears to be a large number of illegal firearms in highly dangerous hands. These include smart AK47s, submachine guns and high velocity machine pistols.

It is outrageous to realize that some of the guns brandished by robbers and other criminals who harbour ulterior motives come from foreign military arsenals.

Some guns seem to have been stolen from neighbouring countries where violence prevails. What the Police Force should do is mobilize good Samaritans to show State agents where illegal gun holders are located and, if possible, where they hide their arms.

Bandits and other gun totters live in homes where it is difficult to hide their activities. The State will be surprised by the scale of campaign success if it ropes in peace-loving members of the society in this initiative.

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