Govt summons US envoy over Masaki attack scare

21Jun 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Govt summons US envoy over Masaki attack scare

THE government yesterday allayed security fears and summoned the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania for questioning over an alert the embassy issued on the possibility of an attack in Dar es Salaam.

Addressing journalists, Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola said the country’s security remains stable, calling on citizens and residents to continue with their daily activities without fear.

His remarks came following on alert issued by US Embassy on Wednesday, of a possible terror attack in the up-market Msasani suburb of Dar es Salaam, with alert being described as normal and not a cause for alarm.

Lugola however intoned that the government through the police force had reached out to the embassy with regard to the matter.

“I want to assure Tanzanians that this kind of alert is normal practice by American missions. We have engaged with the embassy through the police force,” he said.

Lugola urged the public to give little thought to that alert, noting that security organs were working round the clock and there was no need worry about security.

“Continue with your activities. If this information turns out to be true, still the country is stable,” he declared.

In another development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation said in a statement that it has summoned the acting US envoy to Tanzania to provide an explanation over the alert posted on the embassy’s social media platforms early yesterday.

The embassy sent Ann Marie Warmenhoven-Tilias, a representative of the acting ambassador, who confirmed the alert was indeed from the embassy.

“In her explanation, Tilias agreed that the embassy made a mistake for spreading reports that did not only target American citizens but also other members of the public, at the same time knowing that it has no mandate to do so, a move that caused tension to the public and visitors expected to visit Tanzania,” the statement read in part.

The ministry also reminded the US Embassy on the need to abide by national laws and diplomatic rules that guide the issuance of such information.

Permanent Secretary Dr Faraji Mnyepe called upon citizens and foreign residents to continue with their activities for there is no confirmed information about any likely attack, saying security organs were at work following up any threat to the country’s security.

In a rare security alert, the US embassy advised US citizens to take precautions, saying there were rumours of impending attacks in the commercial capital.

However the embassy also said it had no substantiating evidence on the threat or information on the timing.

The alert reads: “There are rumours of impending attacks in the Masaki area of Dar es Salaam, specifically at hotels and restaurants frequented by tourists, and at Slipway Shopping Centre on the Msasani Peninsula. The Embassy has no substantiating evidence of the threat or information on the timing, but nonetheless warns US citizens to take precautions.”

The alert goes ahead to advise US citizens to be aware of their surroundings, to avoid crowds and to stay alert in surroundings frequented by tourists or westerners.