Speaking at a lakeside Sota village in Rorya District, Mara Region on Tuesday, IGP Sirro said there is an ongoing security arrangement to secure the lake that brings police chiefs from three East African countries that share the water body namely Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Currently, he said there is an ongoing investigation into reports that pirates from other countries have been crossing into the Tanzanian territorial waters and terrorising and robbing fishermen in Rorya District.
The impromptu tour was a response to pleas by the locals to meet the top cop in the country to hear their grievances on reports that armed pirates normally clad in foreign army uniforms repeatedly attack and rob Tanzanian fishermen on the Tanzanian side of the lake in broad daylight as well as at night.
“I have directed Tarime-Rorya zonal police commander Henry Mwaibambe to oversee the investigation and bring me the report for further action,” he said.
The police boss said the officers are pursuing a narrative that foreign criminals clad in army combat gear collaborate with some Tanzanian citizens residing in villages along the shores of the lake to commit the crime.
The IGP who also inspected a special police marine standby unit in the area said efforts are being made to supply the unit with modern speed boats and security equipment to enable them outdo the criminals' weapons.
He appealed for calm while the police do their job, arguing that it is important for civilians to be patient because the operation called for inter security state organs approach since the investigation will involved foreign neighbouring countries.
"This is not a simple petty crime; it requires an international assessment that will involve consultations and cooperation with other national and international security organs."
During the public rally at the village, residents, most of whom engage in fishing activities, complained that they were being robbed of fishing gear worth millions of shillings every now and then.
They said community policing had failed to arrest the situation because since the pirates normally arrive with speed boats and sophisticated weapons that outmatch crude weapons held by neighbourhood guards (Sungusungu).