9 July 2014

Tanzania: Two Arrested Over Arusha Blast

Photo: RNW
Police arrest two suspects in Arusha blast (file photo).

Arusha and Jimmy Lwangili in Dar es Salaam — POLICE have arrested two suspects linked to a bomb blast that rocked Verma Restaurant in Arusha city on Tuesday night, injuring eight people.

The law enforcers are also holding over 20 other people accused of taking part in a series of bomb blasts that have hit various parts of the country, including Zanzibar.

Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Isaya Mngulu, addressing reporters in Dar es Salaam, said the force will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of all those behind the deadly network:

"We have embarked on extensive investigations to ensure all the culprits are booked and brought before justice." He said six out of the arrested suspects are linked to the July 3 explosion at the residence of Sheikh Sudi Ally Sudi in Arusha while fourteen others are suspected to have had a hand in the Zanzibar explosions.

"We continue investigating the suspects we are holding to see if they are linked to international crime groups. Our goal is to make sure we eliminate the entire network," Mr Mngulu vowed.

The chief criminal investigator asked members of the public to be careful with huge crowds as well as event organisers to use modern instruments to detect criminals.

But, the DCI urged the citizens to avoid unnecessary gathering and provide information that will help the police to bust the criminal network.

Earlier, the Arusha Regional Police Commander, Mr Liberatus Sabas, had confirmed that the 7-7-2014 night bomb blast hit the restaurant at Kanisa Road, just across the road from the residence of Regional Commissioner Magesa Mulongo.

It injured eight people who were dining at the Indian food outlet. Security officials here report that whatever exploded at the eatery must have been a real grenade, unlike the previous one in Majengo, which was apparently a home-made bomb.

One of the injured persons, Mr Deepak Gapla, whose legs were badly smashed, had to be amputated, according to the physician who is attending the victims at the Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre (Selian Hospital) here, Dr Paul Kisanga.

The other seven victims, some being family members, suffered various forms of injuries and couldn't speak from their hospital beds on Tuesday. They include Vinod Suresh, Protek Jovey, Manci Gupta, Rituik Khenderiral, Raje Rajin, Manisha Gupta and Mahiristi Gupta.

Their condition has been described as serious. The blast, which is the sixth in the series of explosions plaguing the city, which has left nearly ten people badly injured, occurred right across the road from the High Court premises in a building, which also houses a Chinese Restaurant and is within the compound of the Arusha Gymkhana Club and golf course.

Unknown men, possibly two, who were reportedly riding on a motorcycle, allegedly threw the canister in the Restaurant, before speeding off into oblivion.

In what seems like the bombers targeting to bluff the security organs, their latest attack was launched in one of the highly guarded precincts of the city because, all the buildings along the culde- sac are heavily protected by police officers, security guards and surveillance systems.

The blast essentially occurred less than 200 metres from the Arusha State House in the so-called 'Uzunguni' area, which again happens to be a scantly populated area and each of the houses in the area is heavily guarded.

The deafening blast sent shockwaves among the guests boarding in the adjacent Mount Meru Hotel, a high-class property standing just on the other side of the fence, across the lawn, from the scene of the bombing.

The bombing incident occurred less than a week after another explosion in Majengo area, wreaked havoc at the residential house of a Muslim Cleric, Sheikh Sudi Ally Sudi of Answar Sunni's Kilombero Mosque, who together with his guest, a visiting Sheikh Muhiji Hussein of Dar-es-Salaam, was seriously injured in the night attack.

Between May 2013 and July 2014, Arusha has been experiencing a number of bomb attacks, starting with the one which exploded at the Olasiti Catholic Parish when it was being inaugurated by the Vatican Envoy to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo-Padilla.

The papal envoy escaped unhurt. Four people lost their lives while 60 others got injured. The second attack occurred at a political rally in Soweto section of Kaloleni, in the city centre where opposition CHADEMA was just winding up its campaigns for the June 2013 by-elections.

Four other persons were killed. Last April, another bomb exploded at a pub, Arusha Night Park, in Mianzini area, killing one and injuring 15, while the police managed to diffuse another one planted inside Washington Bar in the city's centre.

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