Three nabbed after PWA’s grave dug up, coffin stolen

01Nov 2021
James Kandoya
Tanga
The Guardian
Three nabbed after PWA’s grave dug up, coffin stolen

​​​​​​​POLICE in Tanga are holding three members of the same family on suspicions of being involved in the desecration and theft of the remains of a man with albinism.

Tanga Regional Police Commander Safia Jongo.

The man has been identified as Heri Kijangwa (45), who died from skin cancer on June 4 last year and was buried at Tanda village in Lushoto District on three days later.

It is reported that the perpetrators dug up Kijangwa’s grave on Tuesday last week and stole the coffin containing his remains.

Contacted for comment, Tanga Regional Police Commander Safia Jongo told The Guardian in a phone interview that police are still hunting for other suspects.

“We have arrested three people, members of the same family, in connection with the incident,” she said, adding that police investigations on the matter are in progress.

She said Kijangwa’s family members are believed to have been involved in the incident “as the grave is just five meters from the household, discounting the chances of anyone from far off villages doing so.

During interrogations, each member of the family mentioned at least one person who was part of the crime scenario.

The RPC added that police are working to know the whereabouts of Kijangwa’s remains, further noting: “The suspects will be taken to court as soon as investigations are complete.”

The police effort is chiefly a follow-up to a statement released in Dar Salaam on Friday by ‘Under the Same Sun’ (UTSS), an activist organisation for people with albinism, with a copy relayed to The Guardian.

The UTSS statement condemned the particular incident (in the Lushoto village) and cases of discrimination of persons with albinism which induce such crimes.

“We call upon the government to immediately speed up efforts to investigate the incident and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime,” UTSS said in the statement, noting that Kijangwa is survived by a widow and four children.

It said he was a laboratory technician at the Temeke Referral Hospital in Dar es Salaam and was also completing his Master’s studies in public health at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences – as one of the beneficiaries of an education programme sponsored by UTSS.

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