Regional truck drivers have appealed to the Tanzanian government to provide adequate security to transporters who use the central corridor.
The appeal comes after a Burundian and Tanzanian drivers were stabbed to death by unknown highway robbers in Tanzania’s Nzega District, last Monday.
Theodore Murenzi, the secretary general of Rwanda Long Distance Drivers Union (ACPLRWA), said the thugs blocked the road with rocks before robbing and killing the drivers.
“They smashed the trucks’ doors and attacked drivers with guns demanding cash and other valuables,” he said.
He said the two drivers succumbed to deep wounds inflicted on them by their assailants.
Following the attack, other drivers parked their vehicles the following day in protest until provincial authorities intervened, according Murenzi.
The acting Tanzanian High Commissioner to Rwanda, Francis Mwaipaja, said his office was not aware of the incident.
“I cannot comment about something I do not know about but we are going to get in touch with the truck drivers association and discuss the way forward,” he said.
He said three days after the robbery incident, in the same area, thugs hijacked a fuel truck that was heading to Kigali and diverted it to an unknown place.
Murenzi said the truck was later discovered empty after the fuel had been siphoned.
“We are appealing to authorities to provide security along the EAC transport corridors. Communication systems should also be beefed up to help drivers report any problem,” Murenzi said.
Highway robbery is a serious barrier hindering transporters on both the central and northern corridors linking the region to the two sea ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar in Tanzania.
Mustafa Bizimungu, a driver who travels on both corridors, said drivers’ safety was at risk especially on the central corridor.
“It’s a big challenge for us. Most residents in this area do not work while others stay in forests. We have reported several times but nothing has been done so far,” he said, adding that many other crimes happen along this corridor and go unreported.
The bigger part of this area is forest and, according to the drivers, it it’s a den of robbers.
Nzega is one of the six districts of the Tabora Region. It is bordered to the north and west by the Shinyanga Region. The area is 451 km from Dodoma.
Over 50 per cent of Rwanda’s imports and exports pass through the central corridor that serves as an access route to Dar port in Tanzania. The route also serves other regional countries like Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.