Tanzania:Three jailed for life over church torching incident in Bukoba

Published by Daily News
On 24 September 2016 saa 05:08
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Three Bukoba residents were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment each by the Bukoba Resident Magistrate, Mr Victor Bigambo, after he convicted them of burning a church owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) at Mushasha in Bukoba Rural District.

The convicts are Ally Dauda Hassan (35), a resident of Kemondo Village in Bukoba Rural, Rashidi Mzee (28) and Ngesela Kea (23), both residents of Rwamishenye Ward in Bukoba Municipality.

Prosecuting, State Attorney Mavere Emmanuel told the court before hearing of the criminal case No C/S 67/2015 that the offence was committed on the night of September 16, last year.

According to Mr Emmanuel, within a spell of four months, three churches were burnt at Kihanga Ward in Karagwe District. They include the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) and Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG). He further alleged that last year, unknown assailants burnt two churches at Kaibanja and Katoro wards in Bukoba Rural District, causing loss of millions of shillings.

He named the churches as Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) at Kaibanja and Musila in Katoro Ward and a Roman Catholic Church at Kiijongo in Katoro Ward. On the night of September 22, last year, unknown people set on fire a Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) Church at Buyekera in Bukoba Municipality, causing damage estimated at 4.7m/-.

On the same night, the assailants torched two churches - Living Water International (LWI) along Bakoba Street, causing damage of 4m/- and Evangelical Assemblies of God (EAG) Church at Kibeta Ward, causing damage estimated at 4.2m/-.

Before passing the sentence, Mr Bigambo noted that the six prosecution witnesses testified beyond any reasonable doubt that there were no other offenders but the convicts.

Meanwhile, two residents from Karagwe District were on Wednesday sentenced to five years’ imprisonment each by the Kagera Resident Magistrate’s court after they were convicted of unlawful possession of human body parts belonging to persons living with albinism.

The convicts were identified as Raston Faustine alias Mufuruki (41) and January Korongo (43), both residents of Kakulaijo Village in Karagwe District.

State Attorney Shomari Haruna for the prosecution told Bukoba Resident Magistrate, Charles Oisso, that on March 27, last year,the accused were found in possession of human body parts at Ford Guest House at the Kyaka Centre in Misenyi District looking for a buyer.

The human parts included a skull, elbow and jaws. He told the court that a person with albinism, who was identified as Barthazal Justine, a resident of Karagwe District, died sometime in 1991.

The late Justine was uncle to the second accused, January Korongo. According to Mr Haruna, unknown people invaded the grave at night in 2003, exhumed the body parts and escaped to unknown destination.

The matter was reported to police and thorough investigations were conducted, led by Senior Superintendent of Police Lazaro Manyasi, which led to the arrest of the two accused persons.

A prosecution witness from the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Dr Adam Shaban Botea, told the court that he conducted a DNA test on some human body parts, which indicated that the deceased was a male.

Eight prosecution witnesses testified in court. Before passing the sentence, Mr Oisso noted that the prosecution side had proved the case beyond any reasonable doubt, which pointed to the accused persons’ guilt.