Tanzanian journalist killed in mysterious circumstances

Map of Kigoma 

A journalist working of a community radio station in western Tanzania, known as Radio Kwizera, has been found dead with medical reports indicating he was hanged by unknown assailants.

News of the death of Mr Issa Ngumba, 45, was revealed yesterday by the Press Club chairman of the Kigoma region, Mr Deo Sonkolo, and confirmed by Kigoma regional police commander, Mr Frasser Kashai. Reports said Mr Ngumba’s left arm had a deep bullet wound when his body was found dumped in a forest.

According to Mr Sonkolo, a handgun and two cell phones were found near his body. Speaking to The Citizen newspaper from Kigoma town, Mr Sonkolo said he together with reporters based in Kigoma rushed to the spot where Mr Ngumba was killed and found a doctor carrying out an investigation on the body.

The doctor’s report confirmed that the late reporter was shot on the arm before he was hanged. According to Mr Sonkolo, the deceased's body was found inside Kajuluheta mountain forest after three days of intensive search that started on Sunday, a day after his disappearance.

“We found a handgun beside his body and two mobile phones. It is hard, though, to know if the weapon belonged to him or his assailants,” said Mr Sonkolo. The gun found near the deceased had five rounds of ammunition, while a Sh10,000 note was found inside his trouser pocket.

Mr Kashai, the Kigoma police chief, said they would take action after the release of the medical report on the death.

Radio Kwizera’s acting news editor Mr Seif Upupu, said the incident occurred on January 5, this year, adding that it might have happened around 5 pm when the family lost communication with the journalist.

Ngumba’s wife, Ms Rukia Yunus, indicated her late husband left home in the evening, saying he was going to the town centre. He didn’t come back, only for the news of his death to reach the family three days later, she said.

Local observers who spoke to The Citizen thought his death might have been connected to a report he filed about a pastoralist, Imani Paulo, who is said to have eaten parts of his shepherd’s body.

“The story, which was aired on November 24, last year, forced authorities in the district to arraign Paulo to face justice for the offence,” narrated one editor.

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