Tanzania: Kikwete Vows to Book All Arusha Blast Culprits

Tanzania: Kikwete Vows to Book All Arusha Blast Culprits

tan_1755068cDodoma — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has vowed that his government will make sure all culprits of the Arusha church bombing are arrested wherever they are and brought to justice.

He has also urged believers of all religious denominations to observe their faith without fear, promising that the government would beef up security in all worship places. The president made the promise at Olasiti Roman Catholic Parish after visiting three families whose members lost their lives after the blast.

President Kikwete urged RC followers who were at the Parish to volunteer any information regarding the incident and refrain from religious propaganda. He stated that the government would leave no stone unturned in making sure that the culprits were hunted inside and outside the country, arrested and brought to justice.

President Kikwete told the gathering that terrorists were using all means at their disposal to incite religious violence in the country, calling on Tanzanians to ignore such dirty and dangerous acts. Religious leaders who were in attendance commended the government for its efforts in handling the matter, and urged Tanzanians to maintain peace.

The president also met and held private talks with Arusha Archbishop Josephat Lebulu and thereafter was expected to visit casualties at Mount Meru Hospital.

Meanwhile eight people have so far been arrested in connection with the bombing incident at a church in Arusha last Sunday as the death toll has increased to three.

Briefing MPs on his tour of the bomb blast site in the House on Monday, the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda said intensive investigations by security personnel were well underway.

He asked Arusha residents in particular and Tanzanians in general to volunteer information that would facilitate the arrest of more suspects still at large.Mr Pinda said four suspects among those being held are Arabs whose arrests “were based on circumstance.”

“These (the Arabs) people entered Arusha one day before the incident and departed for Nairobi the same day the church was hit. They were arrested out of suspicion and are being interrogated to establish their involvement in the incident,” Mr Pinda informed the House.

The premier visited the site of the bomb blast Catholic Church at Olasiti area in Arusha, met Bishop Josaphat Lebulu of the Arusha Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican Ambassador to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, who is still in the city. He also visited the injured persons at Mount Meru Hospital.

“The city of Arusha, especially the Olasiti suburb, has returned to normal. Religious leaders and residents have appreciated the positive way in which the government has handled the incident,” Mr Pinda said. He lashed at some people for trying to politicise the issue.

“That act was serious, it was nasty. All the same, we should refrain from making political capital on serious issues like this… this is the time for all Tanzanians to unite and console the victims instead of indulging in unproductive politics,” he said.

The government has asked the doctors attending the blast victims to hand over all the particles retrieved from the injured bodies to the investigators to help them establish whether the bomb was made locally or imported, the premier said.

Meanwhile, the incident dominated debate on the 2013/14 budget estimates for the Ministry of Home Affairs tabled by the Minister, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, on Monday.

MPs from both the ruling party and the Opposition Camp accused the government of nurturing religious tension in the country and called for sterner measures against the few individuals who hide under the shadow of religion to disrupt the country’s peace and tranquility.

Mr James Mbatia (Nominated – NCCR – Mageuzi) and Joseph Selasini (Rombo – Chadema) asked the government to take tough measures against peace disruptors. He singled out leaders who use religious messages or songs as ringtones in their handsets for special attack, saying the habit only divided the people along religious lines.

“To the best of my recollection, there has never been any Islamic or Christian scholar who convened meetings and resolved to assault members of other religions. This is the work of crooks posing as Muslim or Christian fanatics, who have been fanning hatred among members of different faiths for their own motives.”

Debating the budget estimates on Monday evening, Kigoma North MP (Chadema) Zitto Kabwe asked fellow politicians to bury their differences and unite for the best interest of Tanzania. “Our political parties will someday be gone but Tanzania will remain. Tanzanians have no problems as far as peaceful religious co-existence is concerned. It is us, the leaders, who have that problem,” he pointed out.

Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan (Makunduchi – CCM) asked politicians to walk their talk. She said some MPs spoke so well in Parliament but misbehaved immediately after they got outside.

“We are talking so nicely here but why do we act differently immediately we go out. We should always and ideally think before we act, but it seems that we first act before we think,” said Ms Suluhu who is also the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office, responsible for Union Matters.

Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Categories: Church & Ministries

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