Rufiji, Kilwa in paralysis as police pursue killers

The fear over who would be the next target of mysterious killers, the intensity of police operation in the hunt for those responsible for the serial killings of police officers and local government leaders in Rufiji and Kilwa districts has paralysed social as well as economic activities in these areas.

This state of security uncertainty has paralysed the local government and economic activities, bringing to a standstill health services, education, trade and transport services within the Coastal Region districts.

Many businesses are closed and people are not attending to their farms for fear of the killers on the one hand and on the other, the aggressive nature of the police patrols in which officers apply the no mercy approach whenever they are dealing with anyone they consider a suspect.

When the killings came to the limelight in January 2015, heavy police presence and patrols didnt prevent residents from doing their routine activities to earn a living.

However, the situation became tense after three assailants ambushed a police vehicle and shot dead eight officers who were returning to their camp from routine patrol on April 14 this year.

The killings of the officers caused the Police Force to turn vicious in their hunt for the killersso much that on several occasions, innocent civilians ended up being severely beaten, with a few sustaining permanent disability.

The ban on motorcycle taxis (bodaboda) between 6pm and 12am has disrupted the most widely used and affordable means of transport in the areas. And death threats the killers have been issuing against public officials have caused civil servants to abandon their workplaces.

In some schools, teachers are not attending classes, leaving students to fend for themselves while in some health centres, nurses are not reporting to work.

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