Arusha - Tanzania has arrested three Emirati men and a Saudi
national over a deadly church bombing, officials said Wednesday, clarifying
earlier reports they were all from Saudi Arabia.
Five Tanzanians have also been arrested following the Sunday
attack on a packed church in the northern city of Arusha that killed three
"There are three nationals of the United Arab Emirates
and a Saudi... they were arrested while trying to cross the border" into
Kenya, Arusha's governor Magesa Mulongo said.
None of those arrested have been charged yet, he added.
"Investigations are continuing. They are only suspects
at this time. They can be released or brought to trial, it will depend on the
results of the investigations."
The bomb attack, which no group is known to have claimed
yet, was described by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete as "an act of
terrorism" and was one of the worst such incidents to hit the east African
country in years.
More than 60 people were injured when attackers hurled a
bomb into the compound of the newly built Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic church.
The church, in the Olasti district on the outskirts of
Arusha, was celebrating its inaugural mass at the time and was filled with
worshippers, many of whom were sitting on benches outside.
Arusha is a town popular with tourists visiting the
Serengeti national park and snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro.
No official figures
The Vatican's ambassador to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco
Montecillo Padilla, was among those attending mass at the church but was not
Officials have given no indication as to who might have
carried out the attack, but tensions have been high between Tanzania's
Christian and Muslim communities in recent months.
Kikwete, who said he was "shocked and deeply
saddened" by the incident, has called on people to remain calm while
police investigate the attack.
Around half of Tanzanians are believed to be Christian, and
around a third Muslim, although there are no official figures.
In neighbouring Kenya - whose troops invaded southern
Somalia in 2011, prompting warnings of revenge by the al-Qaeda linked Shabaab
insurgents - several churches have been targeted in attacks similar to the
While Tanzania does not have troops in Somalia, it is home
to Islamist groups connected to radical groups in the wider region including
the Shabaab, according to United Nations experts.