Tanzania President orders manhunt for Zanzibar attackers of British teens
TANZANIA (eTN) - An attack to two British teens on the tourist island of Zanzibar this week is a vivid indication that security in this famous tourist island is in the doldrums.
TANZANIA (eTN) – An attack to two British teens on the tourist island of Zanzibar this week is a vivid indication that security in this famous tourist island is in the doldrums.
Two men riding on a motorcycle threw a corrosive substance on the Britains at the famous Stone Town site, popular with foreign tourists and shoppers, as the young women were walking to take their dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Police reports from the semi-autonomous archipelago confirmed the ugly incident, saying the attackers splashed acid on the teens’ faces, chests, and hands.
“We have launched a manhunt, and we ask for public assistance in identifying the attackers,” Police Commissioner Mkadam Khamis said.
The attack to the two ladies, Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both working as charity volunteers on the island, happened a day before the end of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan, the most respected month in Muslim calendar.
Zanzibar is predominantly a Muslim state with over 95 percent of its population of nearly a million people Muslims.
“The motive for the attack on these volunteers has not been established. But, we are conducting serious investigations,” Khamis said.
The young Brits were flown to Tanzania’s capital of Dar es Salaam for treatment while arrangements were in progress to fly them back to London.
The two teens arrived in Zanzibar two weeks ago to teach at the Catholic church-owned St. Monica Nursery and Primary School on the island for one month as volunteers.
Zanzibar, which has a big number of illicit drug addicts, has been a host to 15 volunteers from Britain, the United States, and Australia, teaching at rehabilitation centers and St. Monica School.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said the assault was “senseless and disgraceful.” He said when paying a get-well quickly visit to the two Brits at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, he ordered police and other security operatives to hunt for the attackers to ensure that justice is done.
Tourist stakeholders in the island fear to lose their clients as peace and security remain in the doldrums. The Zanzibar Association for Tourism Investors (ZATI) has expressed its shock that ugly attacks to religious leaders and foreigners could threaten tourists from visiting the island.
Tourism is the main foreign currency earner for Zanzibar, famed for its white-sand beaches and historical buildings in Stone Town.
This week’s assault on the two teens is a series of such ugly attacks taking place in Zanzibar since the end of last year. A Muslim cleric was attacked with acid in November last year, while a Catholic priest was shot dead in February this year, and another Catholic priest shot and wounded in December last year.