(Daily News) THE government has issued another terrorism alert following reports that some Tanzanians were collaborating with Somalia’s al Shabaab rebels, who recently carried out attacks in some parts of Nairobi.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday that the government believed that there was possibility of terrorist attacks and people should be alert.
« Ten Tanzanians were arrested along Kenya and Somalia border by the Kenyan army. The arrested Tanzanians were going to support al-Shaabab. « There are also reports there are some people going around recruiting Tanzanian youths to join al-Shaabab, » Mr Nahodha said.
This is the second time for the government to issue a terror aleart. Last month Tanzania’s Director of Crminal Investigations, Mr Robert Manumba, issued a terrorism alert following a series of grenade attacks in Nairobi by the al-Qaeda linked al-Shaabab.
« We have received threats, » Mr Manumba said in interview with TBC. « Experience shows us that terrorism is an international crime. The al-Shabaab group is composed of members from all east African countries. »
Al Qaeda struck Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing hundreds of people in suicide bombings of the US embassies. Mr Nahodha said the increase of illegal immigrants in Tanzania from Somalia in recent years is another cause for concern over the security of the country.
He told journalists that eight employees in the Immigration Department were involved in aiding illegal immigrants. The officials were reprimanded, he said, adding that there were currently 400 illegal immigrant being held in the country.
In response to the alert, Mr Nahodha said the security forces have intensified co-ordination of their activities to counter any possible attacks from terrorists and illegal immigrants.
« We are also closely working with our international counterparts in sharing information and monitoring of the movements of Somali militants, » he said. Mr Nahodha called on all the people to work closely with the government by providing information to security forces when they find any suspected people or activities.
On October 27, this year, al- Shabaab rebel leaders called for supporters in Kenya to carry out a major strike in retaliation for a military incursion. Kenya has sent soldiers and heavy weapons into southern Somalia to crush the al Qaeda-linked militants, which the country blames for a string of kidnappings of foreigners on the Kenyan soil and frequent border incursions.
Meanwhile, Minister Nahodha said the fate of 21 Zanzibaris who have been living in Somalia since 2001 violence in Zanzibar and Pemba, was yet to be sorted out because they have integrated into the society there making it difficult to bring them and their families home. He said he will send some officials to identify them and see whether they need to come back home.