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How Dar was saved from unguided bombs
2009-05-03 17:55:30
By The Guardian on Sunday Team

Dar es Salaam - a home to nearly 4 million people with vast swaths of unplanned human settlements and poorly developed infrastructure - suddenly came under fire this week, as explosions hit the country`s commercial city on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and destroying properties worth millions of shillings.

Some thought the country had been invaded, while others who still remember the 1998 terrorist attacks believed Osama Bin Laden, operatives had attacked Dar again, this time targeting civilians instead of the US embassy.

But all of them were wrong. It was neither a terrorist attack nor an invasion but an unplanned explosion of unguided missiles, which according to military experts can cover a range of 26km.

From the fuel storage facilities located at Kurasini to Twin Towers at the heart of Dar es Salaam city, and the Julius Nyerere International airport to the overcrowded and busy Kariakoo suburb, Dar es Salaam was in imminent danger - but thanks to brave soldiers and the grace of God - the city survived.

The biggest fear was that the missiles would continue to explode, meaning Dar es Salaam`s city centre could have been deadly ravaged within just a few minutes -but thanks to efforts by military missile experts - the disaster was tamed before it destroyed the country`s commercial capital.

The city`s skyscrapers, airports and other key suburbs could have been seriously damaged if the unplanned explosions had continued, according to military experts.

``Our worry was that these are guided missiles but they have exploded without being guided, they could have randomly hit various areas like the airport, fuel storage depots and skyscrapers,`` a senior military official said.

According to the military official, their worry surged after sensing that some missiles were exploding towards Kurasini fuel depots.

``Just imagine unguided missiles hitting the Kurasini depots, It would have been a deadly disaster for Dar,`` he said.

Although the explosion is over now, the imminent danger is still looming, putting the lives of millions of Dar residents at the crossroads.

Speaking to The Guardian on Sunday, the Director of Criminal Investigation Robert Manumba said, ``The situation is currently under control but we can`t guarantee safety of people until investigations by the military experts are fully concluded.

``This was a very sad event but thank God our experts acted timely, DCI told The Guardian on Sunday.

But how did Dar survive? Who saved the home of four million people from perishing?

According to an impeccable sources within the army, without immediate brave actions taken by military experts, Dar es Salaam would have been deadly ravaged within a span of a few minutes.

``Within the army we have various experts to deal with this kind of emergency, I can`t disclose all details but thank God, we saved our city and millions of souls from being devastated, `` a senior army official who declined to be named told The Guardian on Sunday.

``There was panic especially among civilians and even to some of us, 26km range means that the whole of Dar city was in danger and that`s why we have to act wisely and timely to tame the danger.``

  • SOURCE: Sunday Observer
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