Arusha town has been hit by spasmodic bomb attacks in the recent past. There have been attacks during opposition political rallies as well as a bomb thrown into a Catholic Church in Olasiti during its inauguration last year. This year a bomb was thrown into a local pub injuring a number of people. Just last week a bomb was thrown inside the house of a Muslim cleric as he broke fast. Tanzania has enjoyed peace and stability for the better part of her history. The recent wave of attacks are reminiscent to the Al Shabaab and Boko Haram terror attacks in Kenya and Nigeria respectively. The Al Shabaab and Boko Haram menace are largely Islamic extremism. Kenya and Nigeria have had a torrid time and this has seen their international standing fade quite considerably.
Two days ago, Arusha was hit by another bomb attack, this time in an Indian restaurant called Vama. Eight people have been seriously wounded with one victim's leg amputated. Speculation on the causes and who could responsible for the attack is rife. I have closely followed the reporting of the incidence from a local and international standpoint.
|Tanzania newspaper report on the bomb attack in Arusha|
Local newspapers have today carried headlines of the Arusha incidence. One local newspaper, Mtanzania has caught my attention. It has carried a headline "Siri Milipuko ya Mabomu Arusha yabainika". This loosely translates: "Secret behind Arusha bombings revealed". Reading the story, Mtanzania quotes a tourism stakeholder who implicates Kenya to the Arusha attacks. He says that Kenya is using all means to cripple the tourism sector in Tanzania. He says that the main aim is to scare away tourists who are fleeing Kenya due to insecurity and finding alternative destination in Tanzania.
I have also spoken to a number of my friends here in Arusha and they believe this could be one of the reasons to the attacks. Arusha town is the gateway to a number of tourist sites in Tanzania. The Guardian Nigeria reports in its website that "Arusha is a key town for Tanzania's tourist industry, a major source of foreign currency for the eastern African country."
The police is yet to establish the motive of this recent attack. It is however wrong to implicate a foreign country without substantive evidence. Kenya and Tanzania have been good friendly countries for many years. Despite competition in the tourism market, it is foolhardy, inappropriate and impetuous to imagine this. The security personnel in Arusha should reexamine itself and intercept impending acts of violence which could just local criminal operations.