Tanzanian police said on Thursday that a slain gunman who killed four police officers and a private security guard on a rampage through a diplomatic quarter of Tanzania’s main city Dar es Salaam last month was a terrorist.
In the August 25 attack, Hamza Mohammed shot police officers with a pistol at a city intersection before taking their rifles and heading to the nearby French embassy where he shot the security guard. Hamza was eventually shot dead.
“Our investigation has found that Hamza was a terrorist,” Camilius Wambura, Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), told reporters in the lakeside city of Mwanza, northwest of Dar es Salaam.
The gunman had been accessing extremist content from social media pages depicting terror acts by Islamist groups al Shabaab and ISIS, Wambura said.
Al Shabaab is an Islamist group that has for years been fighting to topple the government in Somalia and seeking to establish its own rule based on its own strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.
The gunman was also in communication “with other people who live in countries with terrorism-related acts but mainly he was learning through radical social media pages,” Wambura said.
Tanzania’s Inspector-General of Police Simon Sirro last week suggested the attack could be related to Tanzania’s role in neighbouring Mozambique, where the country has sent troops to help fight Islamist insurgents as part of a regional security force.
Wambura said Mohammed was one of “a type of terrorists who are ready to die for their religion,” although he did not name any religion.
Venance Kalunga, a neighbour of the gunman, told Reuters last week that Mohammed had lived peacefully in their residential area in the east of the city but described him as devoted to his Islamic faith.
“He is a very ethical man who follows Islamic teachings…he loves going to the mosque in the morning, afternoon and evening.”
- A Reuters report