Four Saudis held over Tanzania church bombing

Updated 06 May 2013
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Four Saudis held over Tanzania church bombing

DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzania has arrested four men from Saudi Arabia and four Tanzanians in connection with the bombing of church on Sunday that killed two people, an attack that has heightened sectarian tensions in the east African nation.
Investigators said they were still determining the type of device used in the attack on the Catholic church in Arusha, a town in the north of the nation of about 45 million people that is roughly evenly split between Muslims and Christians.
A statement from President Jakaya Kikwete’s office on Monday said two people had now died from the blast after the death toll had previously been put at one. Sixty people were injured.
The Vatican’s ambassador to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, was attending the official opening of the church when the explosion occurred. He escaped unharmed.
“So far eight people have been arrested, including four nationals from Saudi Arabia and four Tanzanians,” Arusha Regional Commissioner Magesa Mulongo told Reuters by telephone.
He said the Saudis, aged between 30 and 45, had arrived at an airport near Arusha on Saturday and were detained late on Sunday trying to cross the border to neighboring Kenya. Mulongo said they were being questioned regarding the incident.
Arusha lies near the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in a part of Tanzania that is predominantly Christian.
Highlighting tensions between the religious communities, two Christian leaders were killed in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous, predominantly Muslim islands of Zanzibar earlier this year and there have been attacks on Muslim leaders and mosques.
“We are trying to establish if it was a home-made explosive device or a specialized bomb,” Tanzania’s director of criminal investigation, Robert Manumba, told Reuters.
The president’s office said Kikwete had cut short his state visit to Kuwait following the bomb attack on the church.


Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

Updated 32 min 32 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it has delayed by three days the launch of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the oil-reliant Kingdom seeks to diversify.
King Salman had been scheduled on Wednesday to launch construction of the 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, touted as the Kingdom’s answer to Disneyland.
“King Salman will inaugurate next Saturday the Qiddiya project, which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, without explaining the delay.
Construction for the first phase of development, which would include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari area, is expected to be completed in 2022, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger has said the project in the entertainment-starved Kingdom is expected to draw foreign investment, but gave no figures.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with plans for three hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but skeptics question their viability.
Aside from Qiddiya, the Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, architect of a sweeping reform program dubbed “Vision 2030.”
The reforms stem partly from a motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority said it would stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.