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African Bush Justice

Pattaya One

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I am visiting my brother where he works, on a mine site in the remote bush in Tanzania.

The scenery is stunning, the locals are friendly and generous to a fault, and they work hard in the fields and small retail businesses, and take pride in their villages and towns.

However, in these deeply rural places everywhere on the planet, life, and justice, can be very rough.

The stories my brother tells me over a meal or a beer fortunately make Pattaya look tame.

For instance, last night, he casually told me about three recent local events.


The road to the mine - where the roadblock robbers were killed

First, a few nights ago some robbers set up a roadblock near the mine, to stop cars and rob the occupants. The police turned up and immediately shot dead four of them, the other three escaping. This was the second recent multiple roadblock-robber killing, and these effective police actions are highly popular with the locals, who are sick and tired of these gangs, many of whom drift over the border from Burundi and Rwanda into Tanzania, and never hesitate to use deadly force themselves.


More peaceful road users

Second, in the nearby town, last week, a burglar was caught and beaten to a pulp by an angry mob. He was dragged to hospital where one of the workers at the mine saw him, lying bloodied on the floor. The doctors and nurses refused to treat him, leaving him in groaning agony on the floor for a long while, until, near death, their Hippocratic Oath kicked in and they treated him.

And finally, a mobile phone thief was chased by an angry mob through the town. He was caught, held down, and in public view, his right hand was severed, and he was left there to bleed, until the police arrived and took him to hospital, where no doubt, he received the same treatment as the burglar.

They were just a few of his after dinner stories of this part of the world.


Sungu Sungu on their way to discuss the ethics of bicycle theft.

And finally, one friend, who lives locally, recently drove down a track where  he encountered the sight of a bunch of village headmen, called Sungu Sungu, dressed in crazy  masks (pictured), on their way (a local said) to mete out some rough justice - or perhaps some compassionate words - to a bicycle thief.

Note to self – don’t get on the wrong side of the Sungu Sungu during my stay.

InPattayaNow?d=yIl2AUoC8zA InPattayaNow?d=qj6IDK7rITs

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