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Two police officers held for alleged attack on sports journalist

TWO people are being held by police following the incident on the attack of a journalist by officers in uniform shortly after Simba versus Asante Kotoko match on Wednesday.

The incident in which Wapo Radio journalist identified as Sillas Mbise was attacked, occurred after the match staged at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam to commemorate the famous Simba Day Festival.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw. It is reported that after the match, as normal routine, journalists headed to the press room to get post-match interviews with coaches and captains of each team.

Shockingly, policemen obstructed them (journalists) from doing their work and after exchanging few words, police decided to rough up the above mentioned journalist, injuring him seriously. The assaulted journalist was reportedly taken to hospital to undergo medical treatment.

Video footages show policemen in uniform slapping and kicking unarmed journalist. The video has since gone viral on social networks. Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa has condemned the incident and told journalists in the city yesterday that after seeing the video clip, they have lodged an investigation on the incident.

“After seeing the video clip on social media, we have lodged investigations on the matter…the police are holding two people for questioning in relation to the incident,” said Commander Mambosasa.

While police have launched investigations into an incident on the attack of journalist by officers in uniform, the act was received by a round of condemnation.

In a joint statement issued yesterday, by the Tanzania Sports Writers Association (TASWA) and the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), demanded a full investigation into the matter with those responsible held to answer.

The statement noted that cases of police officers attacking journalists on duties and IDs were on increase. “Members of the press have been frequently complaining of ill-treatment from officers in uniform and this is not a healthy trend and called for a change in the system operation by the police force.

“It is disrespectful toward journalists and journalism profession and it is the kind of incident that intimidates them (journalists) from fulfilling their duties to disseminating information to the public,” reads part of the statement.

Similar concern over the scene was expressed by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) through the Media and Communication Officer, Clifford Ndimbo. Ndimbo said already the federation’s leadership met with TASWA leaders to deliberate on the possible actions.

“TFF extend our support to Mbise and all journalists and we call them to be calm following the incident as we seek lasting solution to such incidents,” he said. Simba Interim President Salim Abdallah alias ‘Try Again’ also condemned the incident, calling it barbaric and unacceptable.

Taifa Stars Captain Mbwana Samatta took to his Twitter account to condemn the assault on a journalist. “It is not right to rough up a journalist who was in line of duties. It is important for our police officers to understand that sports is not hostility, sports promote peace.”

Elaborating further on the measures which have been taken so far, Commander Mambosasa observed that they have crossed checked with all 11 police stations available to find out if the incident has been reported in either of the stations but up to the moment they were no any reports.

Based on that he summoned the victim who suffered the attack to take the initiative and report the matter to any of the police stations for measure to be taken. He observed that the requirement of the law, calls for anyone who is subjected to any crime to report to legal authorities for further measures to be taken.

“It should be understood that no one is above the law, therefore if it happens that someone has done something contrary to the law, be it me or anyone else, the law must take its course,” emphasised the Commander.

Commander Mambosasa said the role of the police is to ensure that the safety and security of people and property is protected and not otherwise.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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