Heavy fighting between the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) and criminals hiding out near Amboni caves in Tanga has reportedly claimed the lives of at least one soldier and at least three police officers were injured.
While DarPost could not independently verify the death of the soldier, MP Zitto Kabwe tweeted condolences on Saturday.
“My condolences to the TPDF soldier who has lost his life fighting criminals in Tanga. I wish quick recovery to the injured,” says Kabwe in a tweet.
TBC1 reported that six members of the security forces have been injured in the clashes.
“Police have not yet established if the criminals are associated with Al-Shabaab. We have not identified them because they have managed to escape,” says Tanga Police Commissioner Paul Chagonja.
Kabwe and other sources have referred to the group as bandits, quelling earlier wide-spread speculation that they were members of Al Shabaab.
The bandits are also believed to be associated with a break-in at the police post in Tanga, where they made off with a cache of weaponry.
“Tanzania must be tough on crime and tougher on causes of crime. Criminals hiding in caves in Tanga must be flushed with all possible force,” says Kabwe.
After stealing the weapons, the group of bandits is believed to have holed themselves up in the historical Amboni caves, the most extensive limestone caves in East Africa, about 8 kilometres north of Tanga.
According to unconfirmed reports circulating in the social media, the aim of the bandits is to free their comrades who have been jailed in prisons across the country.
Chagonja has asked citizens to report any useful information such as sightings of suspicious individuals with injuries.