Trio gets 30-year jail term over terrorism

DAR ES SALAAM: THE High Court at Songea Registry has sentenced three people, Juma Msabila, Hamza Yusuph, alias Singano and Yasin Mussa, alias Kapufi to 30 years imprisonment each for involvement in terrorist offences.

Judge Elinaza Luvanda imposed the sentence after convicting the trio on offences of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, collecting of funds to commit terrorist acts and attempt to commit murder.

“I therefore sentence the accused (for the offences of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and collecting of funds to commit terrorist acts), each to serve a term of fifteen years, which is a minimum term under the penal statute.

“For the offence of attempted murder, each accused person is sentenced to serve a term of fifteen years in prison,” he ruled.

The three convicts, however, will remain behind bars for15 years because the judge ordered the sentences imposed on the offences,   to run concurrently.

The judge could not provide any sentence on offences of participating in terrorist meetings and commission of terrorism act as there is no penal measure prescribed in the statute, posing challenges in sentencing.

In the judgment delivered recently, the Judge noted that Msabila, as per the exhibit tendered during the trial, admitted attending training and meeting for planning to execute terrorist acts, procuring weapons and  engaging in fundraising events.

Such funds, according to the prosecution, were for the purpose of purchasing fire arms to carry out terrorist acts, participating in training  on making homemade bombs, planning and participating in executing terrorist acts at Mabatini area in Songea Urban.

Likewise, he observed, Yusuph confessed to participating  in   planning  to execute terrorist acts, including attacking police officers with a homemade bomb, planting an explosive at Mshangano traffic check point and detonating the explosive.

The judge said also that Mussa equally confessed to have attended a meeting (shura) for establishing a Jihad group, executing terrorist acts to instill radicalism among group members  (sharia) in Songea, attacking police officers on patrol, procuring  fire arms and making homemade bombs.

It was also alleged that the accused participated in the incident of detonating a homemade bomb at Mabatini and at Mshangano areas in Songea.

“In view of the above confession, I find (Msabila, Yusuph and Mussa) guilty for the offences they stand charged with,” the judge held.

However, the court acquitted two others, Hassan Mponda and Said Mhando, who were charged with the trio during the trial after the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them beyond reasonable doubt.

According to the evidence presented by the prosecution, in 2014, three incidents of terrorism were committed within Songea District Ruvuma Region.

On September 16, 2014 around 19:03 or 19:04 hours at Maliatabu Street cum Guest House Mabatini, while on foot patrol with two fire arms, three police officers noticed two people trailing them from the rear side.

After suspecting them, the two people passed the police officers at a high speed before they later attacked the law enforcers with homemade bomb.

One of them sustained serious injuries on his right limb, causing  three toes to be amputated, He also suffered life threatening injuries on his right limb, skin laceration, prompting him to undergo major  surgery by removing a piece of nail that had pierced the  bone.

Another police officer sustained injury on his right limb at the middle and upper knee.

The court was also told that on October 27, 2014, at around 16:00 hours at Mshangao area Radio Tanzania, one traffic police officer detected a planted homemade bomb at a spot where they usually took a rest after working.

The police officer spotted coloured wires at a point where they took a rest, indicating that a homemade explosive had been planted in the area.

The explosive was professionally defused by an expert (Field Engineer) from Tanzania People Defence Force without causing any harm.

It was also alleged that on December 25, during Christmas Eve, around 19:30 or 20:00 hours at Majengo Quarters, two people who were on a motorcycle attacked three police officers who were on patrol with a homemade explosive that was suspected to be an improvised bomb.

Two of the three law enforcers sustained injuries. The two lost consciousness and regained it at the hospital.

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