Tanzania issues security alert over Christmas

The Kampala Coach bus that was targeted with a grenade in Nairobi on December 20. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW 

Tanzania’s Police Force issued an alert Wednesday over possible terror attacks ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Robert Manumba told reporters the authorities had launched investigations to establish the true identity and nationality of a person believed to have carried out a grenade attack in Kampala-bound bus in Nairobi.

Mr Manumba’s statement follows reports from Kenya Police Tuesday that the person who carried out the attack was identified as Albert Olando Mulanda, a 35-year-old Tanzanian.

According to Kenya Police records, Mr Mulanda, the only person to die in the incident, entered the country from Tanzania on October 23, using a temporary immigration pass, Kenya’s Commissioner of Police Matthew Iteere said on Tuesday.

Mr Mulanda’s fingerprints have already been passed along to the Tanzanian National Registration Bureau for confirmation of his identity.

Meanwhile, his body remains at the Nairobi City Mortuary.

Security risk

Mr Manumba repeated the same warning police authorities in Kenya and Uganda have been issuing; that people should report any suspicious persons they deem to be a security risk.

“We must be very careful during these holidays as many terrorist incidents are increasingly happening in the region. The public must report any suspicious person to the police so that we can take immediate measures to stop the acts,” said Mr Manumba.

On the attack in Kenya, Mr Manumba said in most cases terror attacks were internationally planned and it was possible for people to use fake documents when carrying out their plots.

He said the threat of terrorism was very high, taking into consideration that al-Shabaab militants in Somalia have lately spread across the entire East Africa region.

“The suspect (in the recent attack in Nairobi) entered Kenya through Tarakea border in Rombo district in Kilimanjaro region. He had the Tanzanian passport, but we are not sure if he is a genuine Tanzanian or he was carrying forged documents to accomplish his mission,” said Mr Manumba.

He appealed to Tanzanians not to agree to be recruited as suicide bombers by terrorist groups.

Bomber’s pockets

The Commissioner of Operations in the Police Force, Mr Paulo Chagonja, said the increase in illegal immigration across the world in general and East Africa in particular was the cause of the increase in terror attacks in the region.

Police in Kenya have linked the explosion at the Kampala Coach bust station in Nairobi’s River Road to two other grenade explosions in the city earlier in the month and the discovery of 26 detonators on a bus in Uganda shortly after.

Detectives were trying to trace local and international mobile phone numbers found in a notebook recovered from the suspected bomber’s pockets.

“We are in the process of checking the contents of the notebook, but it seems that the grenade was destined for Uganda,” Mr Iteere said.

Eyewitness accounts recounted how the suspect became nervous during a routine security check of passengers and their luggage.

He reportedly dropped a plastic bag he was carrying and thereafter came an explosion.

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