Published: 09:00 GMT Daylight Time - Wednesday 08 May 2013
Church in Tanzania bombed during inaugural service; five killed
Country/Region: Tanzania, Africa
At least five people were killed and around 60 wounded in the bombing of a new church building in Tanzania during a service to mark its official opening.
|The church was attacked during its official opening|
An explosive device was thrown into the church compound in Olasti, a predominantly Christian suburb of Arusha, on Sunday (5 May). The attack was condemned by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete as an “act of terrorism”.
Among those killed were James Gabriel (16) and Regina Longino Kurusei (45). Many of the wounded were in a critical condition.
Senior Church figures were in attendance for the inaugural service. A Barnabas Aid contact in Tanzania said:
This was… a well-planned attack. Even before it the threat was given and still we have many threats. Pray for us and that God will overcome all these in Jesus' name.
|Chaos in the aftermath of the bombing|
He said that radical camps in the country were teaching young Muslims that Christians must be killed or live as second-class citizens. He said that senior Christian leaders had reported details of these camps to the authorities, but no serious action had been taken against them.
Christian leaders and converts from Islam are particularly vulnerable to attack.
Eight suspects have been arrested, four Saudi Arabians and four Tanzanians; one of them, Victor Calisti Ambrose, is alleged to have thrown the bomb.
The bombing follows a number of attacks on Christian leaders and chusrches in Tanzania. Two church leaders were killed in separate incidents in February; another had been shot in the face and shoulder on Christmas Day.
Opposition MPs on Sunday accused the government of being the main cause of religious tension in the country. Tundu Lissu said that the government was implicitly supporting the perpetrators by keeping silent on the bombing and torching of churches and killing of religious leaders.