A lone gunman killed three police officers and a private security contractor outside the French Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Wednesday.
“It’s too early to conclude that this is terrorism as we still investigate the motives,” said Head of Police Operations Liberatus Sabas. “Residents should remain calm as we investigate the matter.”
Authorities say the perpetrator shot and killed two police officers with a pistol at a nearby intersection. He then walked several hundred meters to the French Embassy with rifles he had taken from the slain officers, to kill one more officer and a security guard before he himself was killed by police.
Eyewitnesses say the man fired at random before occupying a guard house in front of the embassy where a police sniper shot and killed him but not before he had injured six more people.
Inspector-General of Police Simon Sirro told local broadcasters that officials were trying to identify the attacker.
Sirro said police were searching for a motive but suggested the attack may have been related to Tanzania’s role in neighboring Mozambique. Earlier this month, Tanzania sent troops to Mozambique to help fight Islamist insurgents as part of a regional security force.
Condolences and warnings
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan sent her condolences to the families of those killed in the attack.
Opposition party Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT) called for a full investigation of the shooting. “As the public, we need to know whether it was a lone event or one of greater security implications for our nation,” party leader Zitto Kabwe wrote on Twitter.
US Ambassador to Tanzania Donald J. Wright also sent condolences via Twitter, calling the incident a “senseless attack,” and expressing his “deepest thanks to the brave law enforcement personnel who brought an end to the rampage.”
The US Embassy issued an alert to citizens telling them to avoid the city’s diplomatic quarter.
The French Embassy has not released a statement on the Wednesday attack.
In 1998, the US Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, Kenya, were targeted by Islamist terrorists in a violent twin bomb attack that killed 224 people and brought the fledgling terror outfit Al-Qaeda to the world’s attention.
js/nm (AFP, Reuters)