Eight hurt in Tanzania tourist restaurant bombing

July 08, 2014 - 1:39:59 pm

ARUSHA, Tanzania: Eight people were wounded late Monday when unknown attackers hurled a bomb through the window of a restaurant popular with foreigners and wealthy locals in the north Tanzanian town of Arusha.

"No one died but eight people were wounded, one is in a serious condition," top Tanzanian police officer Issaya Mngulu told AFP Tuesday.

"It was an improvised explosive device thrown through a window."

All the wounded, who included two children, were Tanzanians, according to the police chief.

The floor of the upmarket Indian restaurant in the centre of Arusha was covered in blood, with overturned chairs amid broken glass, an AFP reporter said.

No one has claimed responsibility, but two Tanzanian nationals were arrested following the attack, Mngulu said, giving no further details.

The bombing targeted a key town for Tanzania's tourist industry, a major source of foreign currency for the east African country.

Visitors come to Arusha before travelling on to the iconic snowcapped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, as well as to the Serengeti national park, famed for its spectacular great migration of wildebeest.


Unknown attackers

Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab have carried out attacks across east Africa, especially targeting Kenya in wave of bombings and killings, but Tanzanian police said they did not believe the extremists were to blame for the Arusha blast.

"We do not know who the attackers are, but we do not suspect any involvement with Al-Shebab," Mngulu said.

Unlike Kenya, Tanzania does not have troops fighting against the Shebab with the African Union force in Somalia.

The attack is the latest of several in Arusha.

On July 3, two people were wounded when an improvised bomb was hurled into the home of leading Muslim cleric in Arusha, Mngulu said.

Police arrested six people, all Tanzanians, following that attack.

Three people were killed and 60 wounded in June 2013 in Arusha when a grenade was hurled into a political rally by an opposition party.

A month before, attackers killed three and wounded 30 when an improvised bomb exploded in a Catholic church in Arusha.

There is no indication the blasts were linked, or who carried them out.

Tanzania's Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar has also been hit by grenade attacks, badly denting its tourism industry. The island is famed for its pristine white-sand beaches and its UNESCO-listed historical centre, Stone Town.

Both mosques and churches have been attacked.

Last year suspected Islamist attackers hurled acid into the faces of two British teenage girls as they strolled through Stone Town, as Zanzibar's Muslim majority were preparing to celebrate the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. (AFP)