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Africa

Tanzania: Attack in Arusha carried out by Tanzanians, says Home Affairs Minister

media View of Mount Meru from the centre of Arusha, a popular tourist destination. Photo: Wikimedia/Phase9

Police have arrested two nationals in connection with a bomb attack against an Indian restaurant in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, which left eight people injured late on Monday. Home Affairs Minister Mathias Chikawe told RFI on Tuesday that the violence is linked to a recent grenade attack against a house in Arusha hosting a number of Muslim clerics. Speaking to RFI, Chikawe denied that the attackers had sectarian motivations, but labelled them as “terrorists”.

Could you give us an update about the arrests that have been made in connection to this latest attack?

We are not exactly sure if they are the perpetrators but we have arrested two people who are helping our investigation leading to those perpetrators. We had another bomb blast as you may know on the third and after that bomb blast we arrested about six people and we think they are in a cell operating together. So we are now trying to find those involved in this particular incident. But we did arrest two people who we think will guide us towards the arrest of the main perpetrators of that event.

So what you’re saying is that there is the possibility that these two attacks are linked?

Yes, we’re sure of that, we’re sure this is the same group of people doing, undertaking these activities.

Do you know which group is involved?

We cannot be very sure which group is involved, but we believe these are terrorists, they’re definitely terrorists. They’ll just create terror against anybody, they’ll attack a church, they attacked a public meeting, yesterday, it was in a restaurant. So they’re not really attacking a religious group, we think they’re just attacking Tanzanians.

Are you concerned that these attacks could have an affect on the important tourist trade in Arusha?

We are aware of that and that is why we are working very hard to make sure that they do not happen again.

What extra security steps are you taking to ensure that this won’t happen again?

We have beefed up the number of our investigators and police officers in Arusha. Now, we have covered almost every street to make sure that these things don’t happen. And of course we are asking the people to be helpful, to tell us any movements of people they consider to be strange in their area, and the people are very positive.

Are the alleged attackers Tanzanians themselves?

The ones we have arrested are. And we think they are Tanzanians, but Tanzanians who have been trained to behave that way.

Are they from Arusha itself or outside of the town?

The ones we have are from around Arusha, some from Tanga. But what we know is that these people were trained elsewhere and have just come in to operate in this area.

Anything that I’ve missed, or anything that’s important to point out to our listeners?

Let me say this, we are taking all the necessary steps to make sure that these attacks stop. Because they’re not good for us, they’re not good for the country, they’re not good for the area.

 
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