Dar on-the-road shootout claims four lives, including police

A shooting incident left four security personnel dead, as six others were injured along the Ali Hasan Mwinyi Road, just outside the offices of the French Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania yesterday.

Tanzania’s police chief, Simon Sirro, confirmed the killings.

The shootout and killings happened on Wednesday shortly before noon, August 25, 2021, involving one gunman, Hamza Mohamed, and police. Police eventually shot him dead.

Eye witnesses said Hamza was yelling, “Allahu Akbar,” and that he walked near police officers who were on duty close to the French Embassy and shot them with a pistol. They dropped and he took two of their rifles. He started firing indiscriminately while walking towards the embassy building.

Other police officers arrived immediately and hid in nearby buildings, trying to disarm the gunman, but he shot at some of them as he was heard shouting that he wanted to kill more police officers, according to the witnesses.

The shootout caused a commotion for about 20 minutes, temporarily halting the traffic along Ali Hassan Mwinyi, as motorists and some passengers using public transport abandoned their carriages to ran for their safety.

The incident took place within two kilometres from the Police Officers Mess at Oysterbay where President Samia Suluhu Hassan was addressing police, saying the country “was safe and calm.”

Immediately after the shooting and killings, she twitted sending condolences to Police and families who lost their loved ones. As she commanded security organs to do exhaustive investigations on the incident, she reiterated the same message that “the country is calm.”

It has been confirmed that the gunman’s name is Hamza Mohammed, a resident of Upanga area in the city, a political cadre of the ruling party, CCM.

SAUTI KUBWA understands from his neighbors and party members that he had participated fully in the election campaigns of the dubious 2020 election that saw John Magufuli retaining the presidency after using security state apparatuses to brutalise the opposition.

“All the time, Hamza was holding two small books, a Quran and CCM constitution, which he had been seen reading one after another,” said a neighbor who preferred anonymity.  It came to light that the gunman comes from a wealthy family in the area. He had once attended a college in Egypt.

Several photos showing Hamza as a CCM stalwarts stalwarts viral within hours of his shooting. They showed him in various party functions in the green shirt and black cap; the signature outfits of the ruling party in Tanzania.  

In some photos, Hamza was seemingly a kind of extravagant young boy of only 30 years spotted in a number of drinking sprees.

Speaking to reporters, the Chief of Special Operations in Police Force, Liberatus Sabas, said among the four dead were three police officers and an employee of the SGA, a private security company in the city.

The man was standing in the middle of a busy road heading to the city center when he was finally shot by police snippers. The gunman’s motives remain unknown at the moment.

Donald Wright, American Ambassador to Tanzania sent a condolence message; “My deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the senseless attack today in Dar es Salaam, and my deepest thanks to the brave law enforcement personnel who brought an end to the rampage.”

According to police, the officers who lost lives during the incident are traffic officer CPL Miraji, PC Emmanuel from Oysterbay Police Station, PC Kangae from Oysterbay Police Station, and Joseph Ukotya Mpondo a security guard.

The six injured Police officers are Sergeant Mashaka, CPL Manfredy, PC Faraji, PC Albano and PC Juma. Other injured persons are Jacob Isaack Kitundu, a driver and Salum Seif, a hawker.