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Yes, marauding armed bandits must be fought to bitter end

THE Police Force has reported that its officers, in Kahama District, have shot and killed four suspected armed robbers. The suspects got killed when they attempted to flee after showing the officers where they had hidden firearms. The incident occurred on Sunday.

The Regional Police Commander (RPC) for Shinyanga, Mr Simon Haule, told reporters that the suspected bandits were in possession of deadly firearms and were terrorizing residents in Tabora, Shinyanga, Geita, Morogoro, Kigoma and Katavi regions. The suspects had told the police that they had a Kalashnikov (AK 47) assault rifle, several pistols and hand grenades hidden in a cemetery in Kahama.

After showing the law enforcers the weapons the suspects, allegedly, fled in disarray. It was at this juncture the officers mowed them down. Indeed, what shocks this nation is what appears to be a large number of illegal firearms in highly dangerous hands. These include AK47s, machineguns and high velocity pistols.

The Police Force has been ordered to work indefatigably to slam the brakes on criminality. President John Magufuli issued this order in Dar es Salaam early last year when launching the Community Safety Initiative Programme.

The president said that the force should combat criminals left, right and centre with no let up and should, indeed, bring the vice to a complete halt. He was concerned that in some cases, when junior police forces corner a bunch of criminals, their superiors interfere.

The president said that this move was foolhardy and should not prevail at all. He even threatened that next time he would order interfering superiors to go out and confront some of the most dangerous criminals who include armed bandits and poachers.

The president was especially concerned by the stark reality that armed criminals had the temerity to storm police stations, kill police officers on duty and steal government weapons. He wondered why police officers fail to wrest weapons from bandits.

A few years ago, the Police Force announced that it had succeeded in outsmarting robbers and that the canker would soon go into the annals of history. Indeed, there was a lull in banditry as the criminals lied low.

However, the morons were only taking a breather. The miscreants of the night are now busy brandishing guns and committing heinous atrocities including murders. This social evil, it seems, has become an incurable cancer in this country. It is this incidence that incensed the president.

What the Police Force should do is mobilize good Samaritans to show its agents where illegal gun holders are located and, if possible, where they hide their arms. Bandits and other gun totters live in homes where it is difficult to hide their activities.

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