Bomb blast rocks Arusha Night Park
15 Revelers, English Premier League fans injured
By Raymond John, Happy Lazaro and Staff Writer
To Peter James, a waiter at the Night Park Bar at Mianzini along the Arusha-Nairobi highway, Sunday, April 13 was just another cheerful day. He was happy and motivated serving revelers from across Arusha who patronize the side-road popular bar and restaurant.
Faithful patrons’ turnout for that particular night was also promising as the English Premier League was featuring Liverpool vs Manchester City, both commanding a large following of fans in Arusha.
Peter’s excitement was suddenly shattered at 7.30pm when a deafening blast set everybody in the bar hall on their heels and scampering to get out of the hall. Little did they know that the blast at the game breather was caused by what Police later described as a homemade bomb.
“I was close to the devise that exploded. It jerked and set me running only to realize later that my legs were after all seriously injured and could not carry me any longer,” said Peter who was by Tuesday still admitted at the Mount Meru Regional Hospital. He said he believed someone had earlier placed the bomb and left the premises. He was close to the centre of the hub of the explosion, but did not see anyone plant a device.
Police investigators at work after last Sunday's blast at the Arusha Night Park.
Anterus Vincent, a resident of Sanawari who is also admitted at the Mount Meru hospital said he is an ardent football fun especially of the world class teams. His favourite venue for watching football is the Arusha Night Park Bar which is about two kilometers from his home. However, his day was brutally spoiled by the blast. His right leg was injured by shrapnel. When The Arusha Times visited him at the hospital on Monday he said he was improving and out of danger. He was quick to thanked God for that.
Bar Manager Halima Mushi was no at the premises when the blast occurred. “At 7.30pm I received a call from one of the workers but I could not follow the caller conversation or understand what was happening as people were screaming.”
After five minutes she arrived at the scene only to find a crowd outside the premises. Inside the bar hall some people were lying on the floor. She mobilized vehicles that took 10 of the wounded to Selian and Mount Meru hospitals. Others were taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital. Police arrived at the scene soon after the blast and cordoned off the area.
According to Arusha’s Regional Commissioner Magessa Mulongo a total of 15 people were injured in the blast. Investigations were immediately launched which involve experts from the Police headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
Arusha Night Park Bar which also commands the allure of charming maids, conspicuously heavy at the seat, was not the only target of the attackers. The Director of Criminal Investigations, Mr. Isaya Mngulu said on the same night of the blast, police were informed at midnight that a suspicious abandoned bag was found at the next bar common by the name of Washington.
Mr. Mngulu told reporters on April 15 investigations showed that the abandoned bag also contained a homemade explosive device. It did not explode at Washington bar where it was seemingly intended to wreck havoc.
Police have named some of the injured victims of the Arusha Night Park explosion as Sudi Ramadhani, Joyce William, Evans Charles Maleko, Loyce John, Evarist Richard and Petro Shayo. Others are Antelus Vincent Ishengoma, Suzan Jacob, Mariam Juvenary Hans, Nathan Charles, Steven Cosmas and Gilbert Nkya.
Police meanwhile, have posted a Tsh.10 million reward to anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of the criminals connected with the Sunday night explosion.
This is the third bombing incident in Arusha in a span of two years. Three people were killed last year when a bomb was thrown onto a crowd during the official launch of a Roman Catholic Church at Olasisiti, south of the city. Also on June 5 last year a bomb blast shattered an election rally by the opposition party Chadema.