Bombs for safe detonation today
By Correspondents Gadiosa Lamtey and Zuwena Shame
The government is this afternoon expected to destroy bombs that failed to go off at the ill-fated Tanzania People`s Defence Forces (TPDF) armoury at Mbagala in suburban Dar es Salaam last week.
A total of 75 bombs will be destroyed during the two-hour carefully planned exercise to be carried out by a special group of military field engineers.
Defence and National Service minister Hussein Mwinyi told reporters yesterday that the exercise would not be accompanied by the kind of thunderclaps heard on the day of last week’s massively destructive explosions.
The exercise would begin at around 3pm and the bombs to be destroyed were stick hand grenades, explained Dr Mwinyi, adding that the decision was reached after it was realised that it was impossible to move the bombs around ``because any bomb that has been shaken in one way or another cannot be kept in safe custody any more``.
He said the exercise would begin with the detonation of only two bombs as an alert to local residents, and then the explosions would run continuously.
The minister called on people living near the military camp to stay at least 500 meters away to avoid being injured in the blasts.
Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner William Lukuvi urged people to continue with their daily activities as the exercise ran on ``because the blasts will not have any impact on their houses and other property``.
Kigamboni legislator Mwinchoum Msomi likewise called on Mbagala Kuu residents to stay as far away as possible from the bomb destruction site during the exercise.
He explained that it would be safest if residents kept a safe distance from the military camp altogether, adding: ``You must stay far away because we don`t expect any harm from today’s exercise`` he said.
Temeke District Commissioner Said Mkumbo reported that his office was aware of the planned exercise and urged parents against stopping their children from going to school.
At around midday on April 29 bombs exploded at the Mbagala ammunition camp, causing deaths, injuries and panic throughout Dar es Salaam and its environs.
The number of people killed in the blasts now stands at 25, of whom 19 are civilians and the rest soldiers. Scores of people hurt in the incident are still admitted to hospital.
So far the number of patients admitted to the Muhimbili National Hospital, Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) and Temeke district hospital has risen to 27.
A total of 4,636 houses were destroyed and 3,750 households left homeless. So far, some 1,300 houses have been valued.