Tanzania Editors’ Forum (TEF) chairman Absalom Kibanda is in critical condition after he was ambushed attacked and injured by unidentified people on Tuesday night at his home in Mbezi Beach, Dar es Salaam.
According to a statement issued yesterday by TEF, Kibanda, who is also a managing editor at New Habari Corporation, was attacked while still in his car waiting for his watchman to open the gate.
The statement signed by TEF Secretary Neville Meena said that the armed assailants broke the window of his car and took him out before they started the attacks.
“It seems there was some struggling because his clothes indicate that he was dragged out of the car while trying to rescue himself…. Generally, Kibanda has been severely injured, he has three wounds on his head, and worse enough, his left eye has been badly injured.
It is as if it has been torn out but we are waiting for confirmation from the doctor,” Meena said.
Speaking to journalists at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute’s (MOI) Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where Kibanda was initially admitted before being rushed to South Africa in the evening, TEF Acting Chairperson Theophil Makunga said the Forum believes that Kibanda has been attacked because of his profession.
The Forum has reported the incident to respective authorities and is waiting for their response, he said.
He added that, according to earlier reports, the attackers pulled out some of his teeth, wounded his left eye using a sharp object and cut off one of his fingers.
At some point earlier yesterday, New Habari Corporation Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hussein Bashi had said that medics were working on X-Ray results before taking other necessary procedures.
Bashi had said, they were taking some measures to see that he gets proper treatment including transferring him to South Africa after regaining his passport from the Court as it had been confiscated following a sedition case facing him.
Speaking to the press, Dar es Salaam Police Special Zone Commander Suleiman Kova said the police have started investigating the case.
Commander Kova said due to the seriousness of the incident, thorough investigation will be conducted whereby the investigation team will include four investigators from the police headquarters.
He called upon any person with information that could lead into the cause of incident to contact the police as soon as possible so that those involved are arrested and legal action taken against them.
Health and Social Welfare minister Dr Hussein Mwinyi confirmed that Kibanda was taken to MOI where doctors have been trying their best to give him the treatment and care he needs.
Mwinyi assured the hospital will make sure that his health improves and his security is not be jeopardised.
For his part, Kibanda told journalists that the attackers were holding guns and he managed to hear them say, “kill him”.
He further explained that three persons holding guns attacked him and injured him but they did not take anything from him.
Meanwhile, the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday postponed the hearing of the sedition case facing Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) Group former Managing Editor Theophil Makunga, former Tanzania Daima Managing Editor Absalom Kibanda and columnist Samson Mwigamba until March 26, this year.
The prosecution led by State Attorney Peter Maugo informed the court that the case was scheduled to continue with the hearing yesterday but postponed after having received information on his attack.
Asking the court to adjourn the case, the defence team led by Reuben Ngowi acknowledged that Kibanda had been attacked by unknown persons and he was in a critical condition.
In the circumstances, the presiding Resident Magistrate Walilwande Lema, granted the request by adjourning the hearing until March 26, this year.