The man who killed four people, three police officers and a private security guard, in the embassy district of the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam before being shot dead was an Islamist “terrorist” who was radicalized on social networks.
The announcement was made Thursday by the Tanzanian police who identified the suspect as Hamza Mohamed.
Investigations according to authorities allowed the police to discover that the assailant spent much of his time learning on the Internet, types of terrorist incidents such as those carried out by Al-Shabab in Somalia and Mozambique, and by the Islamic State group.
In the Aug. 25 attack, Hamza Mohammed shot police officers with a pistol at a city intersection before taking their rifles and heading to the nearby French embassy where he shot the security guard. Hamza was eventually shot dead.
“Our investigation has found that Hamza was a terrorist,” Camilius Wambura, Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI), told reporters in the lake city of Mwanza.
The gunman had been accessing extremist content from social media pages depicting terror acts by Islamist groups al Shabaab and ISIS, Wambura said.
Al Shabaab is an Islamist group that has for years been fighting to topple the government in Somalia and seeking to establish its own rule based on its own strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.
The gunman was also in communication “with other people who live in countries with terrorism-related acts but mainly he was learning through radical social media pages” Wambura said.
Wambura said Mohammed was one of “a type of terrorists who are ready to die for their religion,” although he did not name any religion.
Venance Kalunga, a neighbour of the gunman, was quoted in the media last week as describing Mohammed to be a peacefully in their residential area in the east of the city but described him as devoted to his Islamic faith.
“He is a very ethical man who follows Islamic teachings…he loves going to the mosque in the morning, afternoon and evening.”
Last week Friday, tribute was paid to the victims of the shooting. The ceremony was attended by dozens of police officers, politicians and ordinary citizens.
In October 2020, a police station in the Mtwara region, in the south of the country, 35 kilometers from the Mozambican border, was targeted by 300 jihadists. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.