Tanzania pays tribute to police officers, guard slain by gunman

Dozens of police officers, politicians and Tanzanian citizens gathered on Friday to pay tribute to four people killed by a gunman in the financial capital Dar es Salaam.

The gunman — identified by police as Hamza — went on a rampage on Wednesday and killed three officers and a private security guard in the city’s diplomatic quarter, a rare attack in the East African nation.

Six other people were injured in the incident.

At the ceremony on Friday, the slain officers and guard lay in honour as their colleagues and family members took turns to pay their last respects and eulogise them.

“This is a serious incident and we have something to learn,” police chief Simon Sirro said.

“If the parents did their responsibility, what Hamza did could not have happened.”

Neighbours have expressed shock at the shooting, saying the attacker lived with his mother in a flat, some two kilometres (1.2 miles) from where the incident took place.

“I knew him since he was a young boy. There was a time he disappeared until he came back recently,” taxi driver Omary Issa said.

“He was an ordinary person whom we interacted like any other neighbour. I was really shocked and I really want to know what happened to him.”

The incident took place shortly after President Samia Suluhu Hassan hosted a meeting in Dar es Salaam of senior officers, where police chief Sirro said that crime had gone down in the year ending June.

Such attacks are rare in Tanzania, which has been largely peaceful in contrast to its volatile neighbours such as Mozambique.

President Hassan has urged police to conduct a thorough investigation into Wednesday’s shooting, with Home Affairs Minister George Simbachawene promising to release a detailed report into the incident soon.

“We were hurt but the police will take measures to ensure such kind of incidents are not repeated,” he said.

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