Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Police Force on Thursday allayed public fears about the threat of terrorist attacks in the streets of Dar es Salaam, saying the security situation in Tanzania’s commercial capital is stable.
Police’s security assurance follows a security alert released by the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, warning the citizens of the North American nation to be “alert to your surroundings.”
“Locations frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere in Tanzania continue to be attractive targets to terrorists planning to conduct attacks,” the alert stated.
“Terrorist groups could attack with little or no warning, targeting hotels, embassies, restaurants, malls and markets, police stations, places of worship, and other places frequented by Westerners,” it added.
“Be alert to your surroundings,” the Embassy urged U.S. citizens living in Dar es Salaam. “Practice personal security measures [and] stay alert in locations frequented by tourists/Westerners.”
But police spokesperson David Misime told journalists in the capital Dodoma on Thursday that people have no reason to panic as the security situation is under control.
“We started to work on the alert as soon as it was released to the public,” Mr Misime said of the security alert by the U.S. Embassy. “We would like to assure the citizens that the security situation is stable and that they can go about their businesses as usual.”
Misime urged citizens not to hesitate to report anything of suspicion so that security organs can work on them.
The last known terrorist act in Dar es Salaam took place on August 25, 2021, when three police officers and one civilian were killed following a shootout with a man who was on a shooting spree roaming the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road from the Selandar Bridge area.
The man, who wielded two assault rifles and took Dar es Salaam in a momentous shock, was identified by family members 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 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.”