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Tanzania shares borders with eight countries and a number of armed movements have used its territory as a base, which has left an unknown quantity of arms and ammunition in circulation in the country. Arms and ammunition continue to flow in and out of conflict zones via its north-western borders (such as Lake Tanganyika).1 Various areas in the country are also affected by landmines and require clearance work.2 There are also growing concerns about increasing armed violence over the use of indigenous lands.3

The African Union;  the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA); the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC); and the Multinational Small Arms and Ammunition Group (MSAG) are working on the ground to support the through-life management of ammunition, in collaboration with the Tanzanian Ministry of Defence. Efforts have included training the Tanzanian police forces on best practices in physical security and stockpile management (PSSM), translating a PSSM handbook into Swahili, providing regional PSSM trainings to share UN ammunition guidelines and conducting train-the-trainer programmes.4

Kerry Maze and Hyunjoo Rhee, International Assistance for Implementing the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects: Case Study of East Africa (Geneva: UN Institute for Disarmament Research, 2007),

Sam Jones, “'Heroic' Giant Rats Sniff out Landmines in Tanzania,” Guardian, March 5, 2015,; “Tanzania: Focus on Small Arms Impact and Control,” New Humanitarian, May 29, 2002,,for%20tightening%20controls%20on%20them.

“Tanzania: UN Experts Warn of Escalating Violence amidst Plans to Forcibly Evict Maasai from Ancestral Lands,” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, June 15, 2022,

“Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,

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Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, two accidental explosions have been reported in Tanzania.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Tanzania (1979–2021)

Year Location Owner/manager Deaths Injuries


Gongo la Mboto

State (military)




Dar ed Salaam

State (military)



Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Several cases of diversion have been reported since 2014 in Tanzania.

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition, and explosives in Tanzania since 2014

Year Location Description



An unknown number of weapons were stolen from police officers when they were ambushed during a patrol operation.



Gunmen stole an unknown number of guns and ammunition from the Ikwiriri police station in Tanzania’s coastal region.



Throughout the year, police forces reportedly seized a G3 rifle with two magazines, more than 72 rounds of ammunition, a sub-machine gun and two hand grenades. Some of these items came from national stockpiles, but the exact number is unknown.

Source: “Tanzania Police Killed in Highway Ambush,” BBC News, April 14, 2017,; “Tanzania Police Launch Hunt after Gang Kills 7, Steal Firearms at Station,” The East African, July 14, 2015,; Meddy Mulisa, “Tanzania: Kagera Police Seize Firearms,” Save The Elephants, February 26, 2014,


Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Tanzania.


To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Tanzania:

  • Development or refinement of standards and procedures on stockpile management;
  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles (e.g. training of destruction experts); and
  • Financial and technical support for the renovation of ammunition depots and the construction of armouries.

Source: Tanzania, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Tanzania to the UN, 2020),

Published Date: Thursday 23 of November 2023