TANZANIA: Shock as blasts rock Dar

tanzania_peoples_defence_forces.jpgTanzania People's Defence Forces ABDULWAKIL SAIBOKO & JIANG ALIPO
A Series of bombs exploded at the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) base at Mbaga

The Temeke District Hospital Chief Medical Officer, Dr Aisha Mahita,
confirmed that the hospital received two unidentified bodies and more
than a hundred casualties. Speaking at the scene jammed by military and
police personnel, the Police Force Operational Commissioner, Paul
Chagonja, said that the blasts were caused by a fire at the TPDF
Mbagala armoury. It is too early to establish the cause of the fire
so far we just know that fire detonated the explosions, said PC

Some of the Mbagala Kizuiani residents fear that many people, mostly
soldiers, died due to the blast – but the police declined to comment on
the issue. A victim of the blast, Mr James Msowoya, who was at the
military base when the explosion occurred, said that the incident sent
everyone at the base running for their lives. When I heard it the
first time, I thought it was a transformer blast, but the second
explosion was a big one so I immediately knew it was a bomb and lay
on the ground.

When I woke up, I just begun running and everyone was running for
their lives behind me were four soldiers also running, said the
uninjured victim. Mr Msowoya, who is a Tigo Route Supervisor, said that
he did not know the whereabouts of his colleague. The two were in the
area surveying for spots to erect the company's network towers. The
Daily News' could observe that the whole of Mbagala Kizuiani area was
empty, with no people in the streets on the base's side — most of them
having left without closing their houses or securing their personal

However, the situation later changed when the police, army and fire
brigade arrived; only then did hundreds of people start moving closer
to the side of the base, but police officers riding a patrol vehicle
(PT 1524), ordered curious area residents to stay out of the scene of
the blasts — for their safety. Reporters also observed a house —
still under construction — gutted by fire and several others suffering
cracked walls and broke glass windows and doors. A shrapnel just
landed on the roof and into the house which then caught fire, said
an eyewitness, Mr Ally Abbas.

In a surprising turn of events, thieves and pickpockets had a field day
helping themselves to an assortment of booty — even as soldiers and
their families ran for their lives from the base. At least two young
men were arrested and were found to be in possession of ten explosive
devices. I saw them walk around the base then I decided to follow
them they had various explosives when I arrested them there were
four of them but another two managed to escape, said Mr Abeid
Mchopa, an auxiliary police, who was helping to guard the base during
the blasts.

Officials said that the stolen explosives were live and dangerous if
handled by a novice — since they could explode any minute if
triggered. They further told reporters that the situation remains
dangerous, as some big and live remains of the explosives, which were
thrown from the base, were seen along the Kilwa Road, others being
picked by unsuspecting civilians. Smaller explosions continued
throughout the afternoon, with the police and the army pondering ways
to ensure that they do not cause more harm to the highly congested area.

Daily News

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