Fifteen pastoralists are homeless and their livestock missing after farmers allegedly burned them down in a potentially fatal dispute over land between the two communities.
The government has been called to intervene urgently to avoid bloodshed that seems imminent after arsonist incidents in the Kwalukongwe ward of Korogwe District in Tanga Region.
Speaking to The Guardian over the weekend in Changarikwa Chang'andu village in Magamba ward, Korogwe District, some of the victimized pastoralists narrated the awful ordeal saying it was lucky they were warned aforetime of the intent to burn their houses.
Fearing the worst, the pastoralists on the night of the attack, hid their children in the nearby forest. It is that precautionary move saved their lives for the alleged farmers did go through with their threat and burn down the houses.
“After getting such information that the farmers will come to our village during night hours with weapons to burn our houses, we decided to remove our children and went to hide them at the forests for the fear they would be killed …,” lamented a victim who chose anonymity for security reasons.
Another pastoralist, also one of the victims, did not fear revealing neither his name nor his frustration. Ezekiel Mparei explained that information was leaked to them of the planned attack so they hid with their families and all the livestock they could take in the forest.
“… but we cannot take all you see, so they burn others …,” he said clearly and understandably upset that his cows and goats were mercilessly burned to charred corpses.
Anjela Magdalena, another victim also expressed both anger and concern. She shed new light to the direness of the situation when she pointed out that this is the rain season and it has been pouring heavily over the last several days.
“…why are we and our children forced to sleep outside in the heavy rains where the justice is? Where is the government? Is the law in the cities only? It is unfair and I tell you, it is an acceptable …,” she complained and asserted.
Following the incident, Vice Chairman of the Korogwe District (Rural) Lucas Kerika, has called on the residents to exercise patients and let the law take its course.
He assured them that the police are investigating the matter and will not rest until those responsible are brought to justice and the victims get their due compensation.
“...you have to stay calm and wait for the report from the police …,” said the chairman “… all those who were involved be brought to justice ...,” he assured them.