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44 people arrested over Mtwara chaos

28th January 2013
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 As the situation returned to normal in Masasi district, Mtwara Region, 44 suspects have been arrested over the chaos which erupted when a rioting group of youths clashed with police.

Mtwara Regional Police Commander ACP Mary Nzuki told a press conference here yesterday that the police in collaboration with the regional security committee are assessing the damage to the properties.

At least four people were reported killed while twelve others, including a police officer were injured.

According to the RPC, only one of the deceased has been identified.

“We are still assessing the damage caused by the rioters…I urge people to be patient, avoid taking the law into their own hands while respective organs like the police and court work on the matter,” she said.

She said 28 suspects were arrested at the scene while 16 others were arrested yesterday following a special operation launched by the police in the region. She added that all suspects are being held at the Masasi district police custody for questioning.

In the violence, eleven vehicles and other properties belonging to the Masasi District Council were set on fire.

Reports stated that motorcyclists clashed with police whent they gathered to protest against the arrest of a fellow ‘bodaboda’ driver.

During the violence, the rioting groups set fire to a court building.

They then went on to burn down the house of Masasi Urban legislator, Mariam Kassembe (CCM) and the district education office.

They also torched a number of residential houses of police officers and destroyed others before the police brought the situation under control.

Meanwhile, Kigoma Urban Legislator Zitto Kabwe (Chadema) has urged the government to listen carefully to the demands raised by Mtwara residents on the gas question.

He said Mtwara residents want to know the benefits to them from the gas resource.

“The government needs to show by facts how Mtwara communities will benefit from this project. This is the biggest and most prestigious project for the country’s development. However people’s concerns needs to be addressed accordingly,” he said in a statement released yesterday.

In his six full page statement, the outspoken MP said it is high time that the government unveils the details of the construction of the pipeline.

He pointed out for example that while reports says the project will cost USD 1.2 billion, a recent statement from the ministry of Energy and Minerals says the project will cost only USD 875 million.

“The government must not turn a deaf ear or politicise the issue of Mtwara. It must re-examine itself carefully and respect people’s views to solve the situation,” he said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN