Six suspects arrested in cross-border car thefts

02Dec 2021
James Lanka
The Guardian
Six suspects arrested in cross-border car thefts

​​​​​​​POLICE in Kilimanjaro Region are holding four Kenyans and two Tanzanians for suspected cross-border crime, including car theft. 

In an operation late last month, law enforcers also recovered four posh vehicles of different makes and two motorcycles among other items stolen recently in both sides of the border.

Addressing reporters here yesterday, Regional Police Commander Simon Marwa said that the stolen vehicles were being used by the suspected criminals.

"Upon inspection of the four impounded vehicles, preliminary investigations showed that two were stolen in Kenya and the criminals used illegal routes along the porous border to smuggle them into our region," he stated.

The suspected vehicle thieves are linked to a series of vehicle theft incidents in the region and were on the wanted persons list, he affirmed, noting that stolen vehicles in the region are transported illegally through routes in Same, Mwanga, Rombo and Siha districts to other regions.

Car theft incidents in the region have been rising in recent months, he stated, appealing to law abiding citizens to volunteer information to the police to curb these incidents as the criminals live in social milieu.

This is not the first time suspects have been nabbed in cross-border car thefts as in August 2019, police in the region recovered 20 high-end vehicles stolen from Kenya and sneaked in through notorious unofficial entry points.

The then RPC Hamisi Issah said that law enforcers intercepted the vehicles whose estimated value was close to 2bn/-, on diverse dates, elaborating that the Mercedes Benz, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Prado and Nissan Patrol V.8 cars in particular were being transported through routes in the four districts.

In June 2017 investigation by this newspaper in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga border regions showed that entering the country without documentation through those routes is not stressful, by the day or at night.

Police and immigration officers keep an eye on official border posts of Namanga (Arusha), Holili and Tarakea (Kilimanjaro), and Horohoro (Tanga), but there are scores of unmanned entry points and informal ports used by speed boats along the coastline in Tanga Region.