Clans set for full war, VP to mediate

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- Tanzanian Vice President Ali Mohammed Shein faces his big test since his appointment when he starts an official tour of Mara region in the northern Tanzania next week.
During the 27-31 August tour, Shein is scheduled to mediate a conflict between two clans, which has resulted into at least 10 deaths and forced hundreds of other Tanzanians to take refuge in neighbouring Kenya.
The VP's press secretary, Said Ameir, has confirmed Shein's tour of Mara Region though he would not say anything about his mission to solve the conflict.
No one doubts Shein's ability to solve the problem, but there are views that the conflict was neglected to a point where it now has developed into an ethnic war between the Waanchari and Walyanchoka, making it more difficult to solve the situation given the short time he is to spend in the area.
The situation now, according to sources from Mara Region, is that elders of the two clans are all set for total war, having accumulated arsenals of traditional weapons and "chased" women and children to take refuge into neighbouring villages in Kenya.
Besides, it has been argued that government officials at both district and regional levels have failed to contain the problem since its infancy, thinking that it was a minor conflict that would end on its own.
"The conflict has now developed almost into a tribal war.
All the able-bodied men are armed, women and children have been sent away and a total war is imminent," Thomas Jabuya, the Executive Officer for Kubiterere ward, said.
The conflict between the two clans started about a month a go after police set fire to hundreds of hectares of bhang (marijuana) belonging to Walyanchoka clan.
The victims believed that the police would not have known about their illegal business had their neighbours, the Waanchari clan, not told them.
Following the conflict, a number of houses in various villages have been burned.
Several farms have also been set on fire by the warring clans.

21 august 2001 21:11:00

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