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Tanzania: Bomb Explosions: Bloggers and Twitterers Speak Out

Bomb explosions at a Tanzanian army base in Dar es Salaam’s Gongo la Mboto suburb killed at least 30 peoplethis Thursday. A similar accident occurred In April 2009 at Mbagala Army depot and killed at least 26 people. Tanzanian bloggers and twitterers react.

In a post titled Gongo la Mboto Blasts – A Glimpse, blogger Deogratias Simba posts photographs of fleeing masses, bomb shells and shattered buildings taken on the streets. He writes:

[…]
2. The country’s disaster preparedness programme is very weak (if not absent) … handling proved to be REACTIVE rather than PROACTIVE … the photos will tell you why.

3. It is important to ensure that there is a single commanding voice when it comes to giving instructions of what people should do and when … the media has to be used effectively to convey one central message … not contradictory ones … important for commanding authority and receive the desired outcome.

4. While this incident is being handled and everyone recovering from the shock, our attention on key national issues (Dowans, the new constitution) should be kept very much vivid.

5. TANESCO should improve their efficiency during such incidents … once it takes place … they have to undertake a close inspection of their distribution grids to ensure that they are in order … electricity should be restored the soonest … no reason for people to wait longer than five (5) hours …

6. This should never repeat … pleeease!
[...]

Classroom hit by bomb at Pugu Secondary School. Photo by Deogratias Simba

Blogger Issa Michuzi also posted photos of the mayhem that followed the blasts. Several readers send condolences and demand answers from the government [sw]. One reader, Mohammed Bilal says:

We are very sorry for the ones who are directly or indirectly affected by the tragedy!!
I think ministerial responsibility must take place now… we expected that, after the Mbagala bombing, the army would have taken steps forward to ensure they counter-check the rest of the camps country-wide… but the recent bombing it is evident they did not do so…!! We expect the resignation of the minister responsible!!!

Another reader remembers arms depot explosion two years ago and wonders why no lessons were learned [sw]:

Inasikitisha sana yaliotokea mbagala haikuwa fundisho, na pia hata yaliyotokea mbagala yalikuwa ni uzembe, sasa kwa haya ya Gongo la Mboto sijui hata tuseme nini, maana ni zaidi ya uzembe, kutojali maisha ya watu,kupuuzia kila kitu, ubinafsi, kutowajibika, kutoipenda nchi na pia kutojali wananchi. Maafa ni makubwa sana ingawa si rahisi kusema ukweli. Wakipoteza maisha 200 tunaambiwa 20. Uongo kila sehemu…

It is very sad, nothing was learned from what happened in Mbagala [the explosion in 2009], and also what happened in Mbagala was negligence, now I do not know what we can say about Gongo la Mboto [the 2011 incident], because it is more than negligence, disregarding people’s lives, ignoring everything, selfishness, irresponsibility, lack of patriotism and ignoring citizens. The tragedy is massive even though it is not easy to speak the truth. When 200 lives are lost, we are told it is only 20. Lies everywhere…

As explosions rocked the city, Twitter users reported about the incident using the hashtag #bombsindar:

@jamiiforums reported:

Breaking News: Ghala la silaha Gongo la Mboto lalipuka!

Breaking News: Gongo la Mboto arms depot explodes!

@katebomz retweeted a photograph of the explosion.

Frustrated and hungry for an explanation or an official response on national television, Twitter users decided to organize relief efforts for the victims:


@tzshafiq
compared the current government’s response to that of 1996 government:

Mwaka 1996 wakati inatokea ajali ya MV Bukoba nakumbuka Mh. Mkapa hakuchukua muda mrefu kutoa taarifa kwa wananchi kueleza chanzo cha ajali

In 1996 when MV Bukoba capsized I remember Hon. Mkapa did not take a long time to announce to the people the cause of the accident

@JMakamba criticizes Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation:

On TBC [Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation] now: Boda2Boda music show. I thought it is public broadcaster, and should be on the streets helping out. #bombsindar

@SubiFace is speechless:

re #bombsinDar “There is much better coverage on KTN (Kenya TV) than on TZ channels. Speechless.”

Twitter users coordinating relief efforts

@Tandile announced:

We are setting up a help centre and Mzambarauni Primary school, Gongolamboto (near the sight of the bombs) for people who are looking for missing persons and for children that are lost

@Shurufu retweeted:

via @Sashaissa:,At Muhimbili, they need blood ASAP. The number to call: 0713-777595. Ask for Mrs. Maya Hilda all types required #bombsindar

@tisjane2 wrote:

Urging people in Dar to go to muhimbili to donate blood. Severe shortage #bombsindar

@mtage:

@iUwesu @Mbergsma #bombsindar go to national stadium, tazara or unicef offices..food,water,blankets,tents, clothes needed

Along with relief efforts, calls for resignation continued

@JamiiForums wrote:

“JK sacks Defence Minister” The head line that you won't see! ~ http://bit.ly/gbH7yj #BombsInDar

@AfricanGenesis:

Increasing calls for the heads of CDF and MoD. Will they be held accountable? Or accountability will falter at the hands of Govt?#BombsinDar

Finally, you may be interested to read “#bombsindar: Gongo la Mboto, the media event, as told by Twitter,” a blog post written by Ben Taylor and Gongo la Mboto: reading list by Swahili Street.

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