Fear and grief rocked a predominantly Christian area of northern Tanzania on Sunday after an unidentified man reportedly hurled an explosive device at the inaugural Mass of a new church building, killing two worshippers.
The Vatican ambassador to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, was in attendance as Mass was about to be celebrated at the new building on the outskirts of Arusha. Neither he nor Arusha Catholic Diocese Archbishop Josaphat Louis Lebulu were among the more than 40 people injured, a source in Tanzania told Morning Star News.
According to their East Africa Correspondent, a hospital confirmed two people were killed in the explosion at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, which occurred before 11am when an unidentified man on a motorcycle reportedly hurled an explosive device over the church fence. One of those killed was identified as Regina Loning’o Kuresoi, and among the injured were two 12-year-olds, according to press reports.
Police reportedly said four Saudi Arabian nationals and two Tanzanian citizens had been arrested, including the driver of the motorcycle. Officials urged calm in the face of furious residents. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
With a population that is 34.2 percent Muslim, Tanzania is 54 percent Christian. Most of the rest of religious adherents hold ethnic tribal beliefs, according to Operation World.