Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its travel advice to Tanzania yesterday (October 30), advising against all but essential travel to any area within 20km of the Tanzanian border with the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique.
This is due to attacks by groups linked with Islamic extremism and follows an earlier terrorism warning regarding certain areas in Uganda following a recent suspected terror attack in the Queen Elizabeth National Park where a British citizen, a South African, and a Ugandan tour guide were killed.
The updated advisory cautions that terrorists will likely try to carry out attacks in Tanzania soon, including in major cities. Although Tanzania has not suffered a major terrorist incident since the bombing of the US Embassy in 1998, there have been a number of smaller-scale incidents. In October 2020, the village of Kitara in the Mtawa region was attacked. Close to the border with Mozambique, the attack was claimed by Islamic extremists operating in Northern Mozambique. Most attacks target the local security forces, though attacks against Western interests are also possible.
The FCDO warning states: “Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without warning. There is a risk of kidnapping for ransom and political purposes. Places frequented by Westerners, including places of worship, transport hubs, embassies, hotels and restaurants, and major gatherings like sporting and religious events, may be targets.
“Previous attacks in the region have targeted places where football matches are being viewed. Travellers should always exercise heightened vigilance, especially in crowded areas and public places, and follow the advice of local authorities. You should regularly reassess your security arrangements and consider carefully any travel around the country.”
The Tanzanian authorities have successfully made a number of arrests in connection to terrorism. However, many incidents in Tanzania are of unclear origin and may be conducted by criminal gangs, reads the FCDO advisory.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets.
Around 75 000 British nationals visit Tanzania every year.