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Police foil gold robbery attempt

Police foil gold robbery attempt

However, police managed to foil the robbery after timely arriving at the scene and engaging in a fierce exchange of fire with the robbers. One of the suspected robbers was killed, but three others took to their heels and managed to disappear from the scene. The consignment was claimed to be over 1,500 kgs (1.5 tonnes) packed put in 16 boxes, each box with four blocks of gold and each block weighed 25 kgs.

In international markets yesterday spot gold price was $1,612.39 anounce. A troy ounce is equivalent to 31 grammes.
According to Resident Mining Officer of Geita Zone, Engineer Juma Sementa, his office on Wednesday inspected and verified 25 boxes, each with gold block weighing between 5 and 30 kilogrammes.

The Zone Office is required every week to inspect and verify gold produced by the mine before being exported. During fire exchange, police managed to kill one bandit who had already been wounded by the mine's guard, believed to be South African.
The incident occurred yesterday around 5.55am at the mine's airstrip located five kilometres from Geita town.

According to eyewitnesses and police sources, the suspected bandits were said to have entered into the mine through the main entrance of the airport. It is said that the suspected bandits armed with grenades, SMG and pistols started firing at the plane which was loading the gold from a special vehicle.

"The situation forced some mine guards to flee leaving one South African who had a gun, the South African fired back," said one policeman.The policeman added that the South African was overpowered and ran out of bullets. He was already injured and decided to flee before the police arrived at the scene.

It is further said that three suspected bandits decided to flee after the arrival of the policemen, leaving behind one suspected bandit who was seriously wounded by the South African. The injured bandit was overpowered and killed. He was found with one pistol, a Chenese with registration 0048467 and six rounds of ammunition, four grenades, one SMG with Uganda's registration of UA.89381997, four magazines and 60 unused bullets.

He also wore four pairs of clothes plus another pair of Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) uniforms. Pilots of the plane with registration no.SH-TZX were identified as Major Kondo Hamza and Hamdan Salehe.

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Author: DAVID AZARIA in Geita

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