Presenting the government’s statement in the National Assembly in Dodoma, Home Affairs Minister, Kangi Lugola said the number of killed children had so far been seven. He said that two children were abducted and found while one was injured by the unknown attackers.
The assailants were targeting children under sixteen years of age, he said.
“We are holding 29 people for interrogations as we continue with investigations. We are going to take stringent legal measures against the assailants regardless of their tittle and social status”, said the minister adding the killings were reported at Ikando, Matembwe, Mjimwema, Lukosa, Sido, Mafereke and Njombe secondary school forest area.
Lugola warned Tanzanians circulating false pictures through social networks that portrays a dangerous and instil fear amongst the residents of Njombe Region, insisting they will all be identified and punished in accordance with the Cyber Crime Act 2015.
“These incidences shouldn’t be linked with political and religious beliefs. It is not rather associated with business activities in our country”, Lugola said.
The minister asserted that the police force in collaboration with the regional safety and security committee had taken a number of measures to address the situation including assigning a team of police detectives.
He said the residents are now being educated on community policing whereas police officers are also imparting security skills to primary pupils. He said security organs had been conducting meetings with traditional healers, religious leaders, elders, village and ward executive officers.
“We are conducting regular patrols within the streets. We are working to identify registered and unregistered traditional healers”, he said calling upon Tanzanians to be patient as the government works to completely end the problem.
He assured the House that the situation in Njombe Region will be addressed since the police force is determined to ensure safety of all the citizens. He said since the force had been able to combat incidences of crime in the country, it will shortly end the Njombe killings.
Lugola also warned that citizens don't have the right to take the law into their own hands.
On Monday, Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai directed the government to bring into the House a detailed report on what is going on in Njombe and measures taken to arrest the situation. Ndugai was concerned that such incidences tarnishes the country’s image.
Early investigation reports linked the brutally killing of children in Njombe with superstitions beliefs.
Members of Parliament from Njombe, Lupembe MP Joram Hongoli (CCM) and Makambako constituency legislator, Deo Sanga (CCM) expressed their concerns over a tense situation as people were no longer engaging in income generating activities to escort their children to and from school.