Bomb attack on Arusha church

A bomb attack outside a Catholic church in Arusha on 5 May has killed two people and injured at least 30, according to police.

Four Saudi Arabian citizens and two Tanzanians have been arrested in connection to the explosion which the country's president Jakaya Kikwete condemned as "an act of terrorism". The four Saudis had arrived at Arusha's airport on 4 May, according to the city's commissioner Magesa Mulongo who said the investigation is ongoing. 

The blast occurred at the newly-built church – situated in the village of Olasiti about 7 km to the south of Arusha's Central Business District (CBD) – as the congregation celebrated the building's inaugural Mass.

The capacity crowd inside and outside the church included the Vatican's papal nuncio to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, as well as Arusha bishop Josaphat Lebulu, both of whom were unharmed in the explosion.

It is not known yet who was behind the attack – which was the first of its kind in the usually peaceful Arusha – and so far no group has claimed responsibility.

Recently sectarian tensions have been rising in the predominantly-Muslim archipelago of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, after a Catholic priest was murdered and a church set on fire during a religious tolerance festival in February. Over the last year or so Zanzibar has witnessed increasing attacks on Christian and Islamic clergy.