POLICE in Dar es Salaam are holding eight staff of the International Medical and Technological University (IMTU), including doctors, in connection with the discovery of the remains of human bodies in a valley at Mbweni Mpiji area in Kinondoni Municipality on Monday.
Briefing reporters on the ghastly finding in the city, the Dar es Salaam Special Zonal Police Commander, Mr Suleiman Kova, said the remains of human bodies were found stuffed in 85 plastic bags, which were dumped in the neighbourhood.
The remains included heads, legs, hands, lungs, chest parts and bones. He said that the remains were not emitting any bad smell, indicating that they had been professionally dried and preserved.
Also found were various instruments that are usually used in hospitals such as gloves, twenty pairs of aprons, two empty and used plastic bags and two papers on which there were several questions that needed to be answered,” Mr Kova narrated.
According to the zonal police chief, the remains were found dumped in the area on Monday evening after the law enforcers were informed on the horrific sighting by people who are living near at the area.
Under the command of Kinondoni Regional Police Commander Camillius Wambura, a team of police investigators arrived at the scene where they found 85 black plastic bags, which contained the remains of human bodies.
Mr Kova said the remains were taken to the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) for further investigation where preliminary findings revealed that the remains had last been stored at the IMTU laboratories in the city.
“After the report of the preliminary investigations, police proceeded to arrest the eight IMTU staff, including doctors, on suspicion of being involved in the incident,” he reported.
The zonal police chief told reporters that due to the complexity of the incident, a seven-member probe team has been formed to investigate the entire affair.
Terms of reference for the team include an assessment of how many human bodies were involved and the mechanism used to get the body parts. Mr Kova said the team, to include the Chief Government Chemist, forensic experts, doctors and senior police officials, will be led by the Chief Inspector of the special zone, ACP Jaffar Mohamed.
Terms of reference include an assessment of the whole scenario to establish whether any rules or regulations were violated in disposing of the bodies.
The police force has assured the public that no deliberate killings took place, advising them to remain calm as the probe team undertakes its investigations.
The complete file will be sent to the Office of the Attorney General for further action. Meanwhile, the incident has sparked off much interest in the city, with rumours and speculation rife on the possible motive behind the dumping of the human body parts.
The bizarre incident dominated conversation in many spots and households all over the city and possibly beyond. The body parts, wrapped in black polythene bags, some with the skin peeled off, looked like an awe-inspiring scene in some horror film. Residents and passers-by watched in awe at polythene bags with human body parts in them.
One of the residents found in the vicinity, Daudi Peter (35), told the ‘Daily News’ that the sight of various human body parts wrapped up in polythene bags was ‘’too much to bear’’.
Another lady, who crushes stones for a living in the area, Hadija Msafiri (37), said: “It was scary, really scary’’. She remarked that the neighbourhood was a quiet place and conducive for children to play. “It is, therefore, too bad and very shocking for something like this to happen here,’’ she said.
Another eye witness, Moses Lucas, 40, said it was earlier felt that the bodies could have come from one of the big hospitals as some bags contained doctors’ operation theatre (surgery) wear. “Even if these are bodies from the hospital, it is still inhuman to dispose of bodies like that. In any case, this is also a residential area,” he lamented.
There had reportedly been dramatic scenes in the area on Monday evening as a small pick-up car showed up in the area but on seeing crowds of people, it turned and started wheeling off, causing youths among the crowd to go after them with motorcycles, thinking it was the vehicle that had brought the bodies.
However, it was found out later that the driver of the particular vehicle was not one of the body dumping suspects.
Information had come through that a vehicle full of cadavers had come to park in the area for the purpose of disposing of the bodies as an incinerator meant to burn such bodies had allegedly developed a fault.
On Tuesday, some sources said those were bodies that were supposed to be disposed of in March this year after a private medical university had used them for its practical lessons.
However, the source said that since their incinerator was having problems, they had not disposed them of until the end of last week. The source said they decided to dispose the bodies of in that style following failure to use other hospitals’ incinerators -- a move that is said to be illegal.