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TANZANIA: Lissu, six others in court

IPP Media: GUARDIAN
May 25th, 2011

Singida East Member of Parliament Tundu Lissu and six other people yesterday appeared before a Tarime District court magistrate to answer charges of illegal entry into a mortuary and holding an unlawful meeting.

They were also charged with obstructing post-mortem on the dead bodies. They were denied bail and remanded in custody.

The charges relate to the North Mara Gold mine to the awaited burial of five Tarime district residents gunned down by Police.

Lissu was charged jointly with his assistants and Chadema Director of policy and research, Mwita Waitara.
Before Tarime resident magistrate, Yusto Ruboroga, the public prosecutor, Casmir Kiria alleged that on May 23 at 22 hours, the accused together entered a mortuary illegally.

In the second count, Kiria claimed that the accused gathered a meeting at the location without permit and the third count was that the accused had obstructed investigation on the dead bodies.
Kiria appealed to the court not to grant bail to the accused saying the move could endanger peace and incite relatives of the dead not to carry out burial services.

The prosecutor named the accused as Stanslaus Nyembea (33), Andason Chacha (35), Andrew Nyandu (63), Mwita Marwa (48), Bashir Seleman (35) and Ibrahim Juma Kimu(27).

However the accused led by Lissu rejected the charges by the prosecutor that they will incite relatives not bury the dead.

Magistrate Ruboroga adjourned the case to today, to allow him to go through court injunction requests before giving a ruling.

The accused appeared in court in the afternoon under tight police security led by Field Force Unit (FFU).
Eyewitnesses alleged that while disembarking from the vehicle which carried them; Lissu and Waitara were seen limping with some blood on their clothes.

The court denied them bail, causing relatives who had gone to the court grounds to protest.
Nyamagana Member of Parliament for Chadema, Ezekiel Wenje and the Musoma Mayor were among those who offered to bail out the accused.

In another development Police held four journalists, Chadema special seats Member of Parliament Esther Matiko and the opposition cadre John Heche for six hours, who posted their own bail before being released.

The journalists were arrested at Nyakunguru while heading to Kewanja village following reports that bodies of the four people gunned by police at Nyamongo had been dumped there.

The journalists are Berdina Nyakeke (Citizen), Anthony Mayunga (Mwananchi), Mabere Makubi (Channel Ten) and Anna Mrosso (Nipashe).

In Nyakunguru village, the reporters found the coffin with the body of one Emmanuel Magige dumped in the middle of the road.

Meanwhile Tarime/Rorya special Zone police commander, Constantine Massawe admitted before reporters in Tarime that police took bodies of four people and dumped them in various places.

CHADEMA which yesterday condemned the shootings as reckless had offered to make funeral and burial arrangements for the five, which was to take place yesterday, according to CHADEMA attorney Mabere Marando.

CHADEMA has called on the government to intervene before the situation in Tarime gets out of hand.
“I think something’s wrong in Tarime” said CHADEMA founder and former Party Chair Edwin Mtei, who called on government to do something about the situation to prevent the arrest of innocent people. “(This) issue is not as simple as the government is making it to be” he said.

Bob Makani, another former CHADEMA leader, asked the government to look into what Tarime residents want in order to bring about a solution to the North Mara problem. “I think the government should turn its eyes on Tarime and listen to the people…” he said.

The problem goes back to May 9, this year, when over 500 villagers forced their way into North Mara Gold Mine at Nyamongo, in what the police said was an attempt to steal gold concentrates from the premise.

Tarime/Rorya Special Zone police have been criticised for their heavy-handed response to the incident, during which five villagers were shot dead, and several others gravely injured.

 

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