DAR ES SALAAM, Aug 25 (Reuters) – A gunman killed three police officers and a private security guard on Wednesday in a ransacking of a diplomatic quarter in Tanzania’s main city, Dar es Salaam, before being shot while that he was locked in a guard post at the Porte de l’Ambassy de France.
Internet videos, apparently filmed by spectators from buildings opposite the French Embassy, showed the gunman inside the guard post. He exchanged gunshots from a very short distance with police officers and men who appeared to be embassy guards.
Police said the assailant first shot two police officers with a pistol at an intersection in the neighborhood, which is home to a number of diplomatic missions. He took the guns of the fallen police officers, and walked towards the French Embassy a few hundred yards away, firing at random and occupying the guard post.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Twitter that the attacker had been “neutralized” and “calm has returned”.
“I send my condolences to the police services and to the families of three policemen and an officer from the SGA security company, who lost their lives after an armed person attacked them in the Salenda district of Dar es Salaam, ”Hassan said.
Six people were injured in addition to the four who were killed, police operations and training commissioner Liberatus Sabas said in a Tweet shared by the Tanzanian police account.
Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro said in an interview broadcast on local television that the police were trying to identify the assailant. While the motive is not yet known, Sirro suggested the attack could be linked to Tanzania’s role in neighboring Mozambique, where it sent troops this month to help fight Islamist insurgents as part of ‘a regional security force.
“There are problems, our soldiers are there,” Sirro said of Mozambique.
Police chief Sabas told reporters it was too early to tell if the shooter was a Tanzanian national or if he had any links to terrorism.
Tanzanian television broadcast footage showing police officers wearing bulletproof vests appearing to wrap a corpse outside the embassy in white cloth to remove it from the scene.
SGA Security, which describes itself as one of the leading providers of security services in East Africa, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The French Embassy in Dar es Salaam could not be reached immediately for comment and officials from the French Foreign Ministry in Paris were unavailable.
Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen, Ayenat Mersie and Joe Bavier Writing by Duncan Miriri and Maggie Fick Editing by Peter Graff
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