Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

16 June 2014

Tanzania: Isles Bomb Attack Saddens Kikwete

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
Tanzanian government to avert bomb attacks.

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has condemned what is believed to be a bomb blast attack at Darajani Business area in Zanzibar that left a 27 year old Muslim Preacher dead and eight others injured.

In his condolence note to Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein yesterday, President Kikwete said the bomb attack was carried out by cowardly people.

"This is a cowardly attack on innocent people by fearful people who have no decency at all. The cowardly attack must be condemned by all people who uphold peace and unity in this country," president Kikwete said in a statement to the media.

President Kikwete has urged all citizens to respect each other and tolerate each other's religious beliefs, stressing that he has been saddened by the attack which took place at a religious event, where peace should have prevailed. He urged the Police force to ensure all culprits are apprehended and face the full wrath of the law.

Meanwhile, detectives from Dar es Salaam in collaboration with ammunition specialists from the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces (TPDF) have said that the bomb used in last Friday attack on Muslim clerics was a hand grenade.

"Investigations continue, but it has been proved that it was a hand grenade and not a homemade bomb," said a detective from Dar es Salaam.

The explosion at Darajani in the municipality left a 27-year old Muslim preacher dead and eight other preachers injured. Assistant Director Criminal Investigation (DCI) Yussuf Ilembo, and the Urban-West Regional Police Commander Mkadam Khamis Mkadam said at different occasions, it was a hand grenade.

The police officers did not give details about the hand grenade and how the attack was carried out, as they downplayed reports that four people were being held in connection with bomb attack.

"We have no suspect in custody, but we have been working on names of suspects. We hope to find people who were behind the attack we left Sheikh Mohammed Abdalla Mkombalaguha, from Tanga region in Tanzania Mainland dead."

Ilembo named the injured as Kassim Maftah Kassim, 38; from Pongwe Tanga; and others from Zanzibar are Kassim Issa Muhammad, 36; Hamad Nassor Kassim, 46; Khelef Abdalla 21; Khalid Ahmed Haidar, 16; Ahmed Haidar Jabir 47; and Suleiman Ali Juma, 21.

The blast occurred at a time when Zanzibar town is teeming with visitors attending the annual Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF). The blast occurred at the Darajani Mosque at around 8.30 pm, just after the day's night prayers.

In the last few years there have been a number of attacks in Zanzibar, targeting Christian leaders, churches, tourists and businesses believed to be owned by Christians from the Mainland.

In February last year, two young men on a motorbike blocked Father Evaristus Mushi of the Roman Catholic Church as he tried to enter a church in Stone Town to celebrate Sunday Mass and shot him in the head, killing him on the spot. Police arrested a number of suspects but were later released on bail.

The case has since subsided. On Christmas Day, in 2012 unidentified gunmen shot and seriously wounded Catholic priest, Father Ambrose Mkenda as he returned home from church. Zanzibar was Christianity's entry point to the heartland of East and Central Africa but Christians there remain a minority, about three per cent of the 1.2 million people, who are otherwise entirely Muslim.

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