Tanzanian army officer killed, five injured in fire exchange

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A soldier with the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) was killed and four others and one police officer injured on Saturday in a 15-minute exchange of fire with hardcore criminals in the east African nation's coastal region of Tanga, police said Saturday.

"Police have not yet established if the criminals are associated with Al-Shaabab. We have not identified them because they have managed to escape," Paul Chagonja, the Tanzania police force director of operations and planning, told a news conference.

He also said the criminals whose number was unknown managed to escape.

"The criminals were flushed out of the Amboni Caves where the security personnel found one motorcycle, three bicycles, traditional weapons and explosives," he said.

The Amboni Caves, which are part of tourists' destinations, are the most extensive limestone caves in East Africa, located eight km north of Tanga city off the Tanga-Mombasa road.

"I believe that due to the intensity of the exchange of fire, a good number of the criminals might have been injured," said the police officer.

He said the police and the TPDF launched the manhunt after unknown number of bandits had raided a police station in the Tanga city on January 26 and took away two sub-machine guns.

"Intelligence reports showed that several stolen guns and properties were hidden in the caves," Chagonja said, adding that when the security personnel ambushed the caves the criminals exchanged fire with the law enforcers.

"I promise to give a full report as soon as the operation is over and I am appealing for more cooperation from the people," he said.

Two police officers were killed early January by armed bandits who also stole seven firearms and 60 rounds of ammunition after raiding a police station at Ikwiriri in Tanzania's Coast region. Endi

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