TANZANIA’s Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro held a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Friday morning, but his briefing on investigations regarding the abduction of billionaire Mohammed Dewji (Mo) raised more questions than answers.
Eight days since the abduction took place, the police chief said they had not managed to find him. But he released a photo of a car suspected to have been involved. Although he said the picture had been extracted from CCTV cameras, there is every reason to doubt his statement.
There is no CCTV camera that takes pictures of this type and quality. Besides, a parking pavement where the car seems to have been parked does not resemble in any way any pavement at Colosseum Hotel parking slot.
Reporters were not tough enough on cross examining him, but one of them posed a string of questions that angered the IGP. Obviously, Sirro contradicted previous statements by Zonal Police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa regarding the functionality of the CCTV cameras at Colosseum Hotel.
Mambosasa had earlier last week told reporters that at the time of abduction the cameras were not functioning. But Sirro emerged with a picture seemingly captured using an ordinary camera, saying it had been processed from faint images of CCTV cameras. The vehicle photo is not faint.
He said the suspected car had been identified as having crossed the border from a neighbouring country, but he refused to mention the country in question. On providing the vehicle photo, it gave a hint that police were linking the car to Mozambique. Analysts say even the car number plate resembles those normally used by security forces when disguising vehicles for specific reasons.
While insisting police had not found the kidnapped billionaire, the IGP encouraged civilians, especially the well-to-do, to own guns as a means of protection, saying the billionaire had not carried his gun with him on the fateful day. This statement raises questions as to how they know about it when they are insisting Mo has not yet been found.
Emphasising that so far security forces in Tanzania do not see any need to seek external help, he urged the people to trust their police force, but he failed to answer a reporter’s question on a rising trend of kidnapping incidents in Tanzania in which politicians, artists, activists and journalists have been victimised, as police keep constantly blaming those incidents on “unknown people,” and no thorough investigation is being done.
After Sirro’s press conference, social media discussions were rife with outright criticism of his statement. A good number of them are doubting police readiness, efficiency and seriousness.
One government source anonymously told SAUTI KUBWA: “These incidents and subsequent statements by authorities are clearly putting the integrity of our police and government authorities on the line. Let’s keep connecting the dots, we will soon know the real abductors.”