Villagers censure police for allegedly drowning of boy (15)

07Nov 2019
The Guardian
Villagers censure police for allegedly drowning of boy (15)

RESIDENTS of Mkunywa Village, Madibira Ward in Mbarali District have allegedly blamed the police force for the drowning of Jidanabi Lwenge (15) who is alleged to have fallen into a river while being pursued by the police for grazing livestock on rice farms owned by the Madidibira Smallholder-

-Agriculture Cooperative Society (Mamcos).


Speaking to reporters at the village, the residents alleged that the deceased together with his colleague had gone to the area for watering their animals but suddenly some armed police started chasing them.

A villager, Mwigulu Ucheyeki claimed that one boy who succeeded to escape went to report at home that the livestock had been impounded. When asked the whereabouts of his colleague he said he did not know where he had gone.

The villager said after receiving this report he went to the police station to reclaim his animals but after looking for the deceased he was nowhere to be found.

Ucheyeki said: “My cattle keeper told me that they were threatened with guns hence they started running away in different directions. After that we asked him of the spot they were, then on the second day they found the deceased hanging here already dead.”

He claimed that they have been under harassment from time to time from the police who seize livestock even if they are not within the Mamcos rice farms.

Another villager, Daniel Limbe alleged that the police are making herders in the village a private investment for profit by seizing their animals from time to time.

Sometimes they slap big fines of up to 50,000/- for each animal seized but without issuing any receipts, he said, underlining that they do not live in peace at all.

He said following the death of Jidanabi they were asking the government to intervene to resolve the conflict as it has taken dangerous proportions.

That now includes the loss of life, especially when they have not been told not to graze their animals in the village.

The secretary of the Association of Livestock Keepers in Mbarali District, Matagili Mbigili, appealed to the herders to remain calm during this period as their issue was being followed up. The fifth-phase government will assist them and justice will be meted out, he declared.   

Speaking on the incident, Mbeya Regional Commissioner SACP Ulrich Matei refuted claims that the police were responsible for the death of Jidanabi, saying that he died after being overwhelmed by water when he was leading his animals across the river.   

He said after the incident local residents reported the matter to Madibira Police Station and that was when the police accompanied the villagers to look for the deceased whose body they later recovered and handed him to his family for burial.

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