Somali Bandits

Name ID 737

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Africa News Online
Extract Author: Nicodemus Odhiambo
Extract Date: 1999 December 22

Somali Bandits Resume Incursions Into Tanzania

Copyright (c) 1999 Panafrican News Agency.

A fresh wave of armed banditry has erupted in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. The bandits are believed to be members of the Somali community, reportedly from neighbouring Kenya.

They are said to be operating in liaison with local criminals in disrupting social harmony and throwing residents of the district into panic. The bandits ambushed and murdered the district police commander in August and came back two months later to massacre nine villagers, five days after President Benjamin Mkapa ordered the police force to rout them.

The police responded by killing eleven thugs, but those who escaped came back and served notice to the district commissioner saying they would come for his head no matter what or how long it took.

As a result, regional authorities are currently involved in training local guards in tactics aimed at stemming the Somali banditry.

The Monduli district commissioner, Abdallah Kihato, said the training, to be carried out by the Tanzanian military, will involve members of the Maasai community who inhabit the area.

Regional authorities are, therefore, co-operating with their Kenyan counterparts to stem the recurrent incursions.

'We need the co-operation of Kenyan authorities to corner these bandits,' Arusha Regional Commissioner Daniel Njoolay said.

He added that the region is also working on an operation called 'Operation Save Tourism' to net the bandits.

The operation will include regular police patrols in collaboration with rangers from the Tanzania National Parks.

Extract ID: 1462

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Africa News Online
Extract Date: 2000 April 19

Somali Bandits Struck Again In Northern Tanzania

TOMRIC Agency

Efforts by Tanzania and Kenya to strengthen security around their boarders following the murderous organized killings by Somali Bandits with high calibre weapons, appear to be completely helpless.

Somali Bandits continue to threaten lives of Maasai people in northern Tanzania and it has been reported that Digodigo village in Loliando in Arusha region was attached on Sunday. Two villagers were killed in the attack and several others were injured. According to the Arusha Regional Police Commander (RPC), Juma Ng'wanang'waka, the incident occurred at Maloni area where the mob attacked a car which was going to the auction.

For more than three years, the Somali Bandits have been launching attacks on villages in northern Tanzania, especially areas cross to the border of Kenya and Tanzania. In last week, the policemen from the two countries signed a pact to intensify the joint security operations along their common boarders.

Tanzanian police officers meet with their counterparts in Nairobi and had signed a security pact. The pact comprised negotiation on how they could work together to crack down on drug traffickers, bandits and other criminals, mobs who drive stolen vehicles across the boarders, among others.

They agreed to strengthen security operations along the south western boarder of the two countries.

Early last month a team of the Field Force Unit (FFU) was dispatched by air and road in Ngorongoro district in Arusha to hunt for several armed Somali Bandits who killed a pastor. The Pastor, Mr. John Majoel of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) was shot to death on his back after he allegedly refused to get out of his car, Toyota Land Cruiser. The Pastor was traveling with four European Missionaries to Ngorongoro, one of the famous Tanzania's National Park, on routine pastoral work. According to information reached the media in Dar Es Salaam, after killing the pastor, the armed Somali drove away with the Europeans and abandoned them and the car in the bush some 20 kilometers from the scene area. Authorities in Arusha Region had suggested the deployment of an army unit in Ngorongoro District to curb constant attacks mounted by the Somali Bandits.

Arusha Regional Commissioner Daniel ole Njoolay convened an emergency meeting of the regional defense and security committee where he suggested the option of military intervention against the attacks.

He said the endless attacks by the Somali cattle rustlers since 1998 who have killed at least a dozen people and robbed millions of shillings from residents of the region. Two years ago, Somali Bandits murdered the Ngorongoro District Commanding Officer, SSP Issaya Kong'oa, and about 10 Maasai tribesmen.

Extract ID: 1491

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The East African
Extract Author: Alfred Ngotezi in Arusha and Joseph Mwamunyange in Dar es Salaam
Extract Date: 2000 April 30

Calm Returns to Bandit-Hit Border

published in Africa News Online

Dar-es-Salaam - Calm has been restored along the Kenya-Tanzania border following joint police operations by the two countries to contain the spate of attacks on tourists and other travellers by Somali 'shifta' bandits in northern Tanzania over the past three months.

The Arusha acting regional police commander, Mr. Wenceslaus Magoha, told The EastAfrican recently that the heavy presence of security forces in the area has calmed the situation.

'The situation in the most affected border districts of Monduli and Ngorongoro is now calm,' Magoha said, adding that no more incidents had been reported in the past month, during which police patrols had kept vigil.

The latest attack occurred on March 4, when seven Somali Bandits shot dead a Lutheran Church pastor, Mr. John Mejoel, at Malambo village in Ngorongoro district in Arusha. The pastor was in the company of four Europeans who were robbed of their personal effects and money.

The seven Somalis are said to have been seen in the three Maasai villages of Arashi, Panyinyi and Losoito before they killed the pastor.

The spokesman of the Tanzania police force, Mr. Aden Mwamunyange, last month said that the police had since arrested two local people alleged to be helping the bandits carry out their criminal activities. He identified the two as Lekingi Olekege and Majaliwa Madala.

Mr. Mwamunyange had told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam then that ignorance on the part of the local Maasai residents was being exploited by the bandits, who give them small gifts in return for their safe haven. Such gifts include small portable radio sets, batteries, beads, and watches.

He said awareness should be created among the local communities in the areas that have been affected by the banditry along the Tanzania-Kenya border. 'The Maasai should be made to understand that their nationhood is more important than the simple gifts they receive from perpetrators of banditry,' Mwamunyange said.

Last week, Mr. Magoha said that villagers were being trained in the use of firearms. However, he didn't say whether the arms would be issued to the villagers to defend themselves against future attacks.

'This is a security operation, we cannot disclose more details now, but the situation is very much under control now,' he said, adding that permanent police posts were being constructed at Malambo, Piyaya, Arashi in Ngorongoro district and Gerai Lumbwa in Monduli district.

The local Maasai are also alleged to be selling bullets and giving their traditional robes to the bandits so they could disguise themselves as Maasai herdsmen.

According to Mr. Mwamunyange, Tanzania's inspector general of police, Mr. Omari Mahita, last month met his Kenyan counterpart, commissioner of police Philemon Abong'o, to seek the collaboration of Kenya police to fight the Somali Bandits on the other side of the border.

The two police chiefs agreed that police in Kajiado district on the Kenyan side should undertake an operation to hunt down the bandits.

The governments of Kenya and Tanzania mounted joint operations and agreed to deploy their security personnel on either side of the common border.

The bandits are widely believed to be remnants of the disintegrated Somali army, and have repeatedly entered Tanzanian territory at night through Kenya via the Lake Natron-Namanga border stretch. Local business people are targeted for attack along with tourists.

Extract ID: 1497

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Africa News Online
Extract Date: 2000 June 5

18 FFU Injured In Hunting Somali Bandits

TOMRIC Agency, Dar Es Salaam

About 18 policemen on the mission to hunt notorious Somali Bandits in Northern Tanzania have serious injured in a motor accident along the boarder with Kenya.

The Acting Arusha Regional Police Commander, ACP Wenceslaus Magoha said yesterday here that the accident which occurred at Namanga in Monduli District on Saturday morning, involved the Field Force Officers.

According to him the police were driving in a vehicle, STG 897 to Kimbeine village to hunt Somali bandit following a tip that the trouble makers and notorious killers, Somali Bandits were in the village. He told the press that the conditions of 10 policemen including the Namamga Officer Commanding Station (OCS), Duwan Nyanda, were serious injured and were being hospitalized at the regional Mount Meru Hospital.

'All the policemen were from the Field Force Unit (FFU) and they were on their way to hunt the bandits,' he said. The accident which occurred after the vehicle overturned few kilometers from Namanga after it's driver, Corporal Gabriel failed to control the vehicle, now adds to almost three accidents for the period of 40 days in Tanzania.

At least 18 people have died from these accidents which occurred in various places of the country. Efforts by Tanzania and Kenya to strengthen security around their boarders to arrest Somali Bandits with high calibre weapons, appear to be completely ineffective.

In last month some seven armed Somalis raided Masaai tribesmen at Kitumbaine in Ngorongoro district and stole about Tshs2.8 million. Maasai people were raided as they were on the way to Monduli district for an auction mart.

Being ex-solders with sub machine guns, Somali Bandits fired gun shoots to the air which scarred Maasai people who were in a lorry, and stole apart from money, several properties and other belongings whose amount could not be established. Somali Bandits continue to threaten lives of Maasai people in northern Tanzania.

Digodigo village in Loliando in Arusha region was attached mid April. During that incident two villagers were killed and several others were injured.

For more than three years now, the Somali Bandits have been launching attacks on villages in northern Tanzania, especially areas cross to the border of Kenya and Tanzania. In March a team of the FFU was dispatched by air and road in Ngorongoro District to hunt for several armed Somali Bandits who killed a pastor.

The Pastor, Mr. John Majoel of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) was shot to death on his back after he allegedly refused to get out of his car, Toyota Land Cruiser.

The Pastor was traveling with four European Missionaries to Ngorongoro, one of the famous Tanzania's National Park, on routine pastoral work. In April this year, the policemen from Kenya and Tanzania signed a pact to intensify the joint security operations along their common boarders, but their effort is unfruitful.

Residents suggest the deployment of an army unit to curb constant attacks mounted by the Somali Bandits in the area. Suggestions follows the endless attacks which since 1998 have killed at least a dozen people and robbed millions of shillings from residents in the region.

Two years ago, Somali Bandits murdered the Ngorongoro District Commanding Officer, SSP Issaya Kong'oa, and about 10 Maasai tribesmen. Residents in the area want the government to deploy the arm, but the government is still reluctant to implement the idea.

'The killings of residents in Ngorongoro district by armed bandits does not warrant the deployment of the army,' so says the Minister for Home Affairs, Mohammed Seif Khatib. Khatib says the number of Tanzanians killed by Somali Bandits was still small if deaths in other parts of the Tanzania were taken into considerations.

The army will normally be deployed if there was tension between one nation and the other, he says, urging that the police force will continue to provide security along the common boarder with Kenya. The residents say that Police have failed to provide security in the area, as Somalis were armies with advanced fighting tactics.

Extract ID: 1505

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All Africa.com
Extract Date: 2000 July 14

Somalia Banditry: Tanzania To Deploy The Army

TOMRIC Agency, Dar Es Salaam

At last the government has realized a need to use the army and not policemen alone to carry out an exercise to flush out Somali Bandits in north-west Tanzania.

Residents in the area had earlier asked the government to deploy the army, but the later has been reluctant to respond.

The Minister for Home Affairs, Mohammed Seif Khatib had said the killings of residents in Ngorongoro district by armed Somali's bandits does not warrant the deployment of the army. He said the number of Tanzanians killed by Somali Bandits was still small if deaths in other parts of the Tanzania were taken into considerations.

He said the army would normally be deployed if there was tension between one nation and the other. But following the endless attacks, the Minister for Defense has now declared that the army would be used to fight against Somali Bandits to the border of Tanzania and Kenya.

'In fact the army had already conducted an investigation and had gathered enough information on armed banditry in the area,' the Minister said. This week police in Arusha nabbed two hard core bandits of Somali origin suspected to be behind recent attacks in Ngorongoro and Monduli districts.

They are believed to be architects of armed robberies and Killings in the two districts. In the past, the Ministry of Home Affairs criticized an idea to use the army saying the police force would continue to provide security along the common border with Kenya.

However, the residents were against to the idea saying that Police have failed to provide security in the area, as Somalis were armies with advanced fighting tactics. About 18 policemen on the mission to hunt notorious Somali Bandits in Northern Tanzania were recently serious injured in a motor accident along the border with Kenya.

At least 18 people have so far died from these accidents which occurred in various places of the country. Efforts by Tanzania and Kenya to strengthen security around their borders to arrest Somali Bandits with high calibre weapons, appear to be completely ineffective.

Somali Bandits have continued to threaten lives of Maasai people in northern Tanzania. Digodigo village in Loliando in Arusha region was attached mid April this year.

During that incident two villagers were killed and several others were injured. For more than three years now, the Somali Bandits have been launching attacks on villages in northern Tanzania, especially areas cross to the border of Kenya and Tanzania.

Several Killings by Somali Bandits have been recorded in the area. One of them include Pastor John Majoel of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) who was shot to death on his back after he allegedly refused to get out of his car, Toyota Land Cruiser.

The Pastor was traveling with four European Missionaries to Ngorongoro, one of the famous Tanzania's National Park, on routine pastoral work. Two years ago, Somali Bandits murdered the Ngorongoro District Commanding Officer, SSP Issaya Kong'oa, and about 10 Maasai tribesmen.

Extract ID: 1517

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Africa News Online
Extract Date: 2000 July 28

Tanzanian Security Forces Repulse Somali Bandits

Copyright (c) 2000 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed via Africa News Online (www.africanews.org).

Tanzanian security forces have beaten off Somali Bandits whose attacks in the northern region of Arusha have left scores of people dead and disrupted economic activities in the area.

Regional Commissioner Daniel ole Njoolay told PANA the security forces had been working together with the local militia, popularly known as 'mgambo'.

Military personnel were expected in the region to strengthen the security detail, Njoolay added. The region has important tourist spots and national parks teeming with wildlife.

Defence minister Edgar Maokola-Majogo recently told parliament that the military would be detailed in the region in order to end the Somali banditry once and for all.

'I would like to ensure Monduli and Ngorongoro district residents that this problem will be terminated,' he said, adding that the military had information of a detailed insurgency by Somali Bandits.

The bandits were suspected to have been launching their attacks from the Kenyan side around Kajiado town and the two Tanzanian districts were the most vulnerable because of their proximity to the border.

Tanzanian forces took long to subdue the attacks reportedly due to collaboration between segments of the local population and the Somali Bandits.

'But now the residents have been very helpful in flushing out the bandits,' Njoolay said.

More than 100 suspected bandits have been rounded up since 1999 by security forces in Kenya and Tanzania in a bid to identify and prosecute the real culprits.

Extract ID: 1514
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