Dar es Salaam. Three police officers and one civilian were killed in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday following a shootout with a man who was on a shooting spree roaming the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road from the Selandar Bridge area, according to Operations and Training Commissioner of Police Liberatus Sabas.
In a Twitter post, President Samia Suluhu Hassan ordered the police to investigate the incident to uncover the real motive behind it, sending her condolences to the families of the three fallen police officers and the one civilian who was identified as a guard for AGS International Movers. At least six other people are said to have been injured during the standoff.
The man, who wielded two assault rifles and took Dar es Salaam in a momentous shock, was identified by family members who preferred anonymity as Hamza Hassan Mohamed. The thirty-year-old man is reported to be a resident of Upanga, Dar es Salaam.
Videos shared on social media showed police officers involved in an operation to round up the assailant before he is gunned down in the middle of the road outside the French Embassy gate. Videos showed the man beating his chest in a show of bravery and cockiness.
He briefly brought the traffic along the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road to a standstill, with both private and commuter transport temporarily stopping movements. There are reports that some car owners even abandoned their vehicles and run for cover.
The Selandar Bridge area borders Upanga and Oysterbay and is surrounded by residents of foreign missions such as the French Embassy, Japanese Embassy, Kenyan Embassy, Russian Embassy. It is also close to financial institutions such as Stanbic Bank and KCB Bank.
The US Embassy in Dar es Salaam was among the first foreign mission in Tanzania to warn its citizens against being around the area where the mayhem was being reported. In its security alert, the Embassy asked its citizens to avoid the area, saying: “There are reports of an ongoing armed encounter near the French Embassy on Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road.”
ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe urged Tanzania’s security organs in a Twitter post “to fully investigate what happened today and to understand the cause.” Zitto said Tanzanians need to be informed whether what happened was a lone event or one of greater security implications for our nation.
“At times like this it is easy to look for scapegoats and that can lead us to vilify certain groups or individuals,” said Zitto in a series of tweets he sent from Nairobi, Kenya, enroute from Zambia where he had attended the swearing-in of President Hakainde Hichilema. “I beseech my fellow citizens to refrain from that. We are all pained by what we have witnessed, but we need to rise above it and not allow ourselves to sink.”
In a statement, CHADEMA Director of Protocol, Communications and External Affairs John Mrema urged Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro to “thoroughly investigate the incident” to find out its motivations. He added: “[IGP Sirro] should improve the intelligence of the police so that they can prevent events like these before they happened.”