Nyarugusu (Tanzania): four police officers arrested for attempted theft

Nyarugusu (Tanzania): four police officers arrested for attempted theft

Police officers were caught stealing from the household of a Burundian trader in Nyarugusu camp. They were arrested with three civilian guards from the camp. The refugees demand exemplary punishment. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Last Friday, around 8 p.m., seven people in civilian clothes arrived at a Burundian trader in zone 9 of the Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania.

When they knocked on the metal gate, the shopkeeper known by the nickname ‘Gasongo’ opened, believing they were late customers coming to quench their thirst. But things turned out differently.

“They finally pointed guns at him, ordering him to give all the money in his possession. He replied that he no longer has any money, that he has already placed orders for shop’s items. But he had already recognized their faces,” neighbors explain.

The robbers didn’t stop there.

“They demanded 400,000 Tanzanian shillings to keep him alive. The victim begged them indicating that he can only find half the amount. The attackers accepted and let him enter the house to take the money,” his neighbors still testify.

Arriving in his room, “Gasongo” called the police commander who guards the camp and the head of the civilian guards. They were quick to intervene.

“Police officers, guards and some refugee leaders then headed towards zone 9 at Gasongo’s house and surrounded the enclosure. A scuffle almost broke out but the robbers ended up surrendering. All seven were handcuffed and put into police vehicles,” eyewitnesses say.

For the moment, they are being held in the camp’s custody. The refugees demand exemplary punishments.

“Finally we just learned that it was the police who were robbing us and killing us. So, let those who were caught red-handed be punished in an exemplary manner. And then we are worried about the life of this trader, there could be reprisals,” they plead.

At the beginning of this month, the permanent secretary in charge of the refugee issue at the Ministry of the Interior, Sudi Mwakibasi, recognized that there are blunders committed against Burundian refugees, sometimes by police officers, and promised that the situation would change, giving hope that those who committed these blunders could be punished.

Refugees from Nyarugusu, a camp where Sudi Mwakibasi gave this speech, are demanding that action matches words.

Nyarugusu is home to more than 110,000 refugees, including more than 50,000 Burundians, others being Congolese.

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