Four fishermen have allegedly been killed by Rubondo Island National Park rangers, after they accused them of engaging in illegal fishing within the reserve in the Lake Victoria.
Reports have it that the rangers, who were on patrol arrested and immersed them in water before shooting them.
The deceased include Cleophad Maingu, 35, a resident of Kafunzo, Januari Magele, 38, a resident of Luholongoma, Hernest Jonathan alias Gidu, 24, a resident of Kahunda in Sengerema District, and Dunia Mapambano, 35, a resident of Kigoma Region.
It was alleged that after the arrest, five survivors attempted to escape but two of them, Juma Boniface, 25 and Bahati Mahangaiko, 18, both residents of Maisome in Sengerema, were arrested and handed to Geita District police station.
Frank Sebastian, 28, a resident of Kalebezo, Bahati Matayo and Doi Masanja, both residents of Maisome Island in Sengerema District, Mwanza succeeded to escape from the rangers’ custody.
The incident occurred on March 30, this year at 6.45am near Migongo landing site at Isaba Village, Maisome Island in Sengerema District.
It was on April 4, when the bodies with serious injuries on necks, heads and arms, were found after an intensive search conducted by Isaba villagers.
The alleged killings brings the number fishermen killed by gun shot, bayonet and deep water immersion to 14 since 2011.
The Mwanza regional police commander, Mr Valentino Mlowola, said though he did not associate park warders with the killings, police have launched a thorough investigation into the incident.
However, the RPC did not reject or accept that the wounds that were found in bodies of the deceased were caused by gunshot. “The injuries mighty have been resulted from stumbling on stones in the lake,” he said.
“Postmortem results are out but I can’t disclose the details here as I don’t have the file in which the results have been documented,” he said.
For his part, the Geita regional police commander, Mr Leonard Paulo, confirmed the arrest of the two fishermen, Juma Boniface and Bahati Mahangaiko, saying they had already been taken to court. According to the RPC, the two form part of a group of nine fishermen accused of engaging in illegal fishing, saying their accomplices managed to escape during the arrest.