FIVE people, four of them coming from the same family, who sustained severe bullet wounds, have been transferred to Mbeya Referral Hospital from Katavi Regional Designated Hospital.
They are from Ikongwe Village in Mpanda District. Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) officers allegedly accused them of illegally entering and conducting human activities, including farming, inside Msaginya Forest Reserve managed by TFS.
It was further alleged that the TFS officers were armed with three shotguns. The five wounded persons were then rushed and admitted to Katavi Regional Designated Hospital in Mpanda Town and were identified as quartet brothers.
Mr Filbert Patrick (40) sustained severe wounds on his legs, Mr Joseph Patrick (27) sustained wounds on his chest, Mr Geofrey Patrick (39) sustained a severe wound on his left hand and Mr January Patrick (22) sustained wounds on his shoulders.
The other on the list is Mr Nkuba Sai, who was severely wounded on his left hand. Reports that reached ‘Daily News’ yesterday had it that due to lack of an X-ray machine at Katavi Regional Designated Hospital, the five brothers had been transferred to Mbeya for surgical procedures.
Nsimbo Constituency MP Richard Mbogo admitted that the five patients had been transferred to Mbeya Referral Hospital as Katavi Regional Designated Hospital, where they were admitted before, did not have an X-ray machine. He also expressed concern over the incident, saying there was no reason at all for the TFS officers to use excessive power to deal with unarmed villagers.
“The area TFS officers say it is theirs in fact as per the law enacted in 2005 was established as a human settlements area so that citizens can settle and conduct human activities, including farming. This year, the Mpanda District Council once again surveyed and declared it to be the human settlements area,” he added.
Katavi Regional Police Commander (RPC) Damas Nyanda was quoted as confirming the occurrence of the incident, saying, while at the scene of incident he picked an empty shell one of which was thought to have been used in a shotgun that severely wounded the five persons.
“I have issued instructions to law enforcers to ensure all suspects are arrested and once interrogated those, who will be discovered to have committed the crime, will be arraigned and charged,” added the RPC.
The RPC further said: “The cause of shooting is the allegation that the TFS officers had dealt with five suspected invaders. Armed with three shotguns, they arrived at the village on the day of incident and started slashing down maize allegedly that the invaded portion of land was part of Msaginya Reserve Forest,” added the RPC.
However, yesterday and the day before this paper tried to contact him via his mobile phone (0754929884), but it was all the time being unreachable. When contacted, sources from inside the Police Force neither conceded nor declined the apprehension of the suspects, who happened to be TFC officers.
Narrating the incident, Sitalike councillor Adam Cherehani alleged that on the day of incident after villagers learnt that the TFS officers were slashing their crops armed with three shotguns, 10 of them rushed to the scene of incident and pleaded with them to stop slashing their crops.
“The defiant officers went on slashing the crops supposed to be harvested in January next year. It was at that juncture that the villagers started booing them.” After slashing the crops, the armed TFS officers jumped into their land cruiser vehicle and started firing live bullets, while speeding and wreaking havoc in the area, causing others to take on their heels and five of them sustained severe wounds,” added Mr Cherehani.