Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tanzania: Grenade Attack in Arusha, Three Killed, 70 Injured, 2nd Attack in Recent Weeks

According to local media, a second bomb incident occurred in Tanzania's northern tourist city of Arusha on Saturday night (June 15) in the form of grenade being thrown into an opposition political rally, killing three and injuring upwards of 70 others.

The target of this attack was against the Tanzanian opposition party of Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy and Development) in a town commonly referred to as the Geneva of Africa. At the time of the detonation, the opposition party’s Chairman Freeman Mbowe was speaking.

A bomb blast also hit a Catholic church in Arusha on May 5, killing three people and injuring some 60 others from a blast that targeted Catholic leaders and the Apostolic Nuncio to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla.

The grenade attack on Saturday was hurled from the perimeter of the basketball playground where the party leaders addressed the well-attended election rally.

COMMENT: It seems clear that police in Tanzania are not being proactive in terms of the political extremism that seems to be emerging in the country, which no doubt includes the need for improved physical security of political and social gathering, thereby creating an easy opportunity for political extremism.

Left unchecked, future bombing incidents in Arusha could very well have a negative impact on tourism in what is clearly an economic hub.

Arusha is a safari city for East Africa, located exactly at the center of the African continent between Cape Town in South Africa and Cairo in Egypt. Arusha is a sophisticated, lively city standing as the leading commercial center in northern Tanzania, shining in tourism, Maasai culture, and flower and coffee cultivation.

The city sits at an elevation of 1,500 meters above sea level, and is the fastest-growing municipality by its prominence as the gateway to East Africa’s most famous wildlife parks, international conferences, and business.

Arusha is the hub of Tanzania’s tourism, boasting 90% of tourist companies operating in northern Tanzania. The city has been marked to be an East African tourism exhibition center after years of successful annual Karibu Travel and Tourism Fairs (KTTF) which took place there in June each year.

Shopping bazaars, coffee houses (bars), curio shops, hotels, and museums, dominate the city’s prominence. These recreational and educational facilities are flocked with people of different cultures and nationalities.