Tanzania: 10 Traders Among 28 People Held Over Njombe Children’s Killings

By Godfrey Kahango & Sharon Sauwa

Njombe/Dodoma — At least 10 prominent businesspeople from Makambako and Njombe are among the 28 suspects who are being held for questioning by the police in connection with a spate of brutal killings of children in Njombe Region, the Parliament heard yesterday.

The Makambako Member of Parliament, who is also respected businessman in the area, Mr Deo Sanga (CCM), told Parliament yesterday that the situation was tense throughout Njombe and that it has reached a point whereby visitors are viewed as suspects -killers or collaborators.

“At least 10 prominent businesspeople – who employ a total of 200 people – have been arrested. They are behind bars for four days now and we do not know what is actually happening,” Makambako MP, Deo Sanga said noting that a number of economic activities have ground to a halt.

Mr Sanga was contributing to a point that was raised by his Lupembe counterpart on the ruling party ticket, Mr Joram Hongole, who stood up on a-point-of-order basis and asked the Speaker to allow the legislative body to suspend its routine business for the day to pave way for a debate on the brutal killings. It is believed that the killings of children are motivated by witchcraft beliefs whereby perpetrators use body parts in rituals that are said “to bring riches, success, power or enhance sexual desire. ”

Regional authorities say at least 10 children have been killed in Njombe in a period of one month and that the killers were also chopping off the children’s reproductive and respiratory organs in the killings that are linked to superstitious beliefs.

Speaking in Njombe yesterday, the Njombe Regional Police Commander (RPC), Ms Renata Mzinga, confirmed that several prominent businesspeople were among the 28 suspects who were being held for questioning by the police in connection with the killings of children.

She said the police force has uncovered a network of culprits who have been involved in the abduction and killing of children in Njombe Region, promising that even those that had fled the area will be hunted until they are brought to book.

“We have uncovered the network of people who have been involved in these killings. In partnership with a special team from the Police Headquarters in Dar es Salaam – which has joined our team in the efforts to arrest the situation, we will hunt them wherever they are. So far, we have arrested 28 people, including businesspeople, traditional healers and other ordinary citizens,” she said.

And in Parliament yesterday, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Job Ndugai, gave the government up to February 8, to issue a statement on what has actually transpired in Njombe.

“It is quite sad and unfortunate. These brutal killings require a strong statement from the government. I now ask the government to prepare a comprehensive statement and present the same in this House before the adjournment of the ongoing sitting,” he said.

The current session will be adjourned on Friday, February 8.

Earlier, responding to Mr Hongole, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama asked that the government be given time for it to issue a comprehensive statement on the issue.

“As government, we need to compile a comprehensive statement, explaining in details, the steps that we have taken so far to contain the situation,” she said.

Source The Citizen


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