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Ensuring Tourist Safety

Destination news: After Kampala terrorist attack, Tanzania keeps its security on full alert

Apolinari Tairo, eTN  Jul 29, 2010

TANZANIA, Africa (eTN) - In an apparent move to ensure that tourists visiting Tanzania are safe, the Tanzanian army said its soldiers are in full preparation to fight the Somali militant group of Al-Shabaab in case the terrorists enter this African country.

Calming down the fear that Al-Shabaab militants could attack and terrorize locals and foreigners visiting or living in Tanzania, the Tanzanian army commanders said they will ensure that Tanzania is safe from terrorist threats.
Fears from Al-Shabaab attacks gripped many people in Tanzania after the Kampala bomb blast earlier this month in which dozens of people were killed.

Tanzania had once been threatened by Somali bandits in the late 1990s when several tourists were attacked and robbed of their traveling gear in the northern tourist parks of Ngorongoro and Serengeti. This situation caused the Tanzanian soldiers to crackdown on the Somali bandits and keep them at bay.

Somali poachers and bandits are known to have caused unlimited problems across the Eastern African zone, mostly Kenya and Tanzania, which are closer neighbors to war-torn Somalia.

Reacting to fears that Al-Shabaan could jeopardize peace and threaten tourists who are visiting Eastern African states, including Tanzania, senior military officials in Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam said that joint security strategies have been put in place to ensure peace and safety in key places within Tanzania.

The director of information and public relations of the Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF), Lieutenant Colonel Kapambala Mgawe, said that the army is working 24 hours a day to make sure that all the country’s borders, including its air space, remain safe.

“Our soldiers are on vehicles, moving on foot, and others are busy working at radar-reading departments to make sure that we protect Dar es salaam city and the borders,” he said.

He said TPDF was very “combatant” against hostilities, and sometimes they integrate with other Tanzanian and African security organizations, such as the immigration department and the police, in order to protect the people and the country, as a whole, from any hostile actions.

Al-Shabaab and its allies are fiercely opposed to African government plans to send peacekeeping troops to Somalia in a bid to end almost two decades of lawlessness and bloodletting in the Horn of Africa.

Tanzania does not plan to contribute troops for peacekeeping operations in Somalia but will be ready to provide training support.

African leaders who met in Kampala, Uganda, on Monday of this week, approved a plan to send an extra 2,000 peacekeeping troops to Somalia in the wake of the twin bombings in Kampala by agents of Al-Shabaab, which killed over 70 people in Uganda’s capital.

But Tanzania’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Mr. Seif Ali Iddi, said that Tanzania is reluctant to send its soldiers to Somalia, saying the citizens are opposed to the move.

He said Tanzania was willing to support Somalia but only by providing military training for its solders and that Tanzania had already asked the Somali government to provide a list of names of at least 100 soldiers who will be trained in Tanzania.

In its recent publication, the Washington Post said currently, foreign fighters in Somalia range between 300 and 1,200, according to Somalia and US intelligence estimates.

Tanzania and Kenya are marked with porous borders. The border between Kenya and Somalia covers 1,000 kilometers of land and water, while Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast has paved a way for Somalis to sail through easily.

Dozens of Somalis have frequently been intercepted in Tanzanian coastal waters, on their way to seek refugee in South Africa.

Destination news: After Kampala terrorist attack, Tanzania keeps its security on full alert
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