TANZANIA (eTN) â A few days after a grisly attack and killing of a Dutch tourist outside Tanzania's famous Serengeti National Park in the northern tourist circuit, scores of suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident, some in possession of items stolen from the tourists.
The Tanzanian Minister responsible for Tourism, Mr. Khamis Kagasheki, confirmed that the suspects, including a foreign national, were arrested a few days after the incident during a heavily-equipped police surveillance in the Serengeti area.
Mr. Kagasheki said the Tanzanian police units and other security agents have been deployed in the area, and key suspects are being held in connection with this grisly tourist attack.
He said the suspect killers will be booked to face the courts of law, while stringent measures will be taken to protect tourists visiting Tanzania against any sort of banditry.
Several items stolen from the killed tourists and others booked at the Moivaro Lodge were recovered by Tanzanian police. Two key suspect robbers are being interrogated by the police, while two guns believed to be used in this horrific attack were recovered from the robbers.
Three computer units, five pairs of shoes, four photographic cameras, mobile phones, a television decoder, and other travel items were recovered from the suspects, now under intensive police interrogation.
He said such an attack and killing of a tourist who was on safari in Tanzania was a rare incident and an unfortunate one which took his ministry by great shock, taking into reality that Tanzania has been a peaceful tourist destination.
Last week's killing of a Dutch tourist is the first killing of a tourist in the famous and most visited northern Tanzania circuit. Media and travel fraternity sources indicate that there were isolated cases in areas outside Ngorongoro Conservation Area where tourists were mugged of their travel items, but no single killing was reported to hit a tourist.
Mr. Kagasheki said his ministry (tourism) is working closely with the Internal Affairs Ministry to ensure that such an attack will not happen again, while security in all tourist facilities and visiting sites remain stable, to ensure safety to holiday makers on visit in Tanzania.
Security has been beefed up in tourist hot spots, both inside the wildlife parks and outside, in villages where park rangers are not deployed.
The 57-year-old Dutch tourist, Eric Brewelmans, was killed in an armed robbery on a holiday in Rubanda Village, outside Africa's famous Serengeti National Park. With the tourist, a lodge manager, Renatus Bernard, was also killed in the incident and about 40 of the lodge's guests lost all their belongings.
A special police operations team was immediately dispatched to areas neighboring Serengeti National Park to hunt the killers, in collaboration with other security operatives.
Tourist and travel stakeholders have expressed their shock over the recent attack, fearing to lose their booming business at this time when most holidaymakers from key market sources of Europe are contemplating about the future of the Euro zone crisis.
Endowed with rich tourist attractions, Tanzania had targeted to attract a million tourists before 2015, raising the current figure of 867,994 tourists today, and who had generated a revenue of US$1.3 billion to date.
Said the ministry, a strong member of the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Regional Tourism Association of southern Africa (RETOSA), Tanzania remains a peaceful African destination with no tourist threats or security risks to foreign holidaymakers.