11 May 2013

Tanzania: Pengo Appeals for Restraint

THE Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo has called on Tanzanians to exercise restraint and avoid retaliatory actions which may upset peace and stability of the country.

Speaking in Arusha at the burial of victims of last Sunday's explosion at a Roman Catholic Church that killed three people and more than 60 others injured, Pengo said good deeds should always defeat evil actions.

"We must defeat evil by acts of good faith and allow the government play its part through law enforcement agents," Pengo told hundreds of thousands of mourners who thronged the church. He said that nobody is rewarded by being cruel or disobedient but insisted that Tanzanians should be law abiding people, saying that worshippers should avoid retaliatory acts which may fuel hatred.

However, he said according to the word of God, Christians should avoid revenge which may lead to bloodshed, insisting that tolerance should remain the pillar of their faith. "Bloody attacks should not be a reason for hatred and retribution," he added.

He further said the incident reminded people of the death of the Zanzibar Priest Everist Mushi who was gunned down by unidentified people insisting that prayers, peace and understanding should prevail to overcome such upsetting circumstances.

The cleric strongly urged all law enforcers to execute their duty professionally, since they know exactly what they are supposed to do to make sure that all suspects are brought to justice. In connection with last Sunday's Roman Catholic Church bombing in Arusha, police have arrested three more suspects raising the total number of suspects to twelve.

Speaking at the burial ceremony, The Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Bishop Alex Malasusa said such incidents related to torching of churches, bombing churches, killing of clerics and others should not be a source of despair.

He said Christianity is not based on houses but in faith which cannot be removed by acts of intimidation, therefore Christians should not be short of good deeds but tolerance, friendliness and God fearing acts should be the guiding pillar. "God will not only judge us for our sins but also for the good things that we never did," Malasusa said.

Meanwhile, the government has contributed 112m/- in support of the families of the victims of the Arusha bombing burial arrangements. Of the amount, 100m/- came from the Disaster Management Unit in the Prime Minister's Office.

The Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, pledged the government's commitment to ensure peace and security for the people, adding all culprits would be booked and justice would prevail. Conveying condolence message from the government, Pinda, who also expressed sympathy, said Christianity would not die by killing its members, adding that members of the major religious denominations, Christians and Muslims have co-existed in harmony for many years.

"All suspects will be pursued as the government will not relax when peace is under threat. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been instructed to work round the clock in collaboration with other stakeholders to identify the culprits. People should exercise restraint and the general public should assist on identification of the suspects," Pinda explained.

He said under medical recommendations, all survivors who would need additional medical attention abroad, the government would cover the costs. In yet another development, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Saidi Mwema has announced a 50m/- reward for anyone with information that would lead to more arrests of the bombers and/or the suspected terrorist network.

The Arusha Regional Police Commander (RPC), Liberatus Sabas, has named nine of the twelve arrested suspects asserting that it is too early to name the other three who have been arrested in the last 24 hours.

He named the nine suspects as Victor Ambrose Kalisti (20), a motorcyclist believed to have driven the suspect who hauled the bomb into the church and Joseph Yusuph Lomayani (18) yet another motorcyclist but whose part in the bombing was not specified. Both are residents of Kwa Mrombo suburb of Arusha, Others are George Bathoromeo Silayo (23), a businessman residing in Arusha and Jassini Mbarak (29), another Arusha dweller.

Mohamed Sulemani Said (38) a Dar es Salaam resident and suspected to be the one who transported the suspected four Middle East nationals from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) to a hotel in Arusha where they spent a night ahead of the Sunday bombing before he attempted to escape into Kenya. The suspected Middle East citizens are Said Abdallah Said (28), Abdulaziz Mubarak (30), Foud Saleem Ahmed (28) and Said Mohsen (29).

"We are still interrogating them and their files have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecution's Office for legal action," he explained. The RPC also revealed that preliminary investigations indicate that the bomb was not home made but rather a professionally assembled device.

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