Acid attack on British girls in Zanzibar: The Church of England Newspaper, August 16, 2013 p 6. August 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Katie Gee, Kirstie Trup, terrorism, Zanzibar
Suspected Islamist terrorists have attacked two British teenagers in Zanzibar, throwing acid on the two girls as they were walking in the Shangani section of Stone Town, the island’s capital.
Speculations as to the motive for the attack are rife. The girls are members of a Zionist youth group and may have been targeted for being Jewish, or the assault may have arisen due to their work at an Anglican school on the island, or could have arisen from their breach of the prohibitions of Ramadan practiced in the majority Muslim country.
Sheikh Issa Ponda, a leader of an Islamist extremist group in Zanzibar, has been detained by police for questioning.
On 8 August 2013 the Zanzibari government released a statement denouncing the attack and offering a reward for information. “The event is a great tragedy, and an attack of this nature against a foreign citizen, has never happened here before,” it said, adding this was a “serious incident” that had “damaged the reputation of a peaceful and stable Zanzibar. The attack is unacceptable and could affect our tourism industry – which is a major economic driver in Zanzibar.”
On the evening of 7 August 2013 at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan, and as Muslim’s began to celebrate the Eid holiday, Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee of Hampstead, were walking in an area popular with tourists, when two men on a motorbike road up beside them. The passenger on the motor bike threw acid on the girls, severely burning their faces, arms and shoulders. The girls were airlifted to Dar es Salaam for medical treatment and have since returned to England.
The Jewish Chronicle reports the two girls are members of the Federation for Zionist Youth, prompting speculation they were attacked for being Jews. However, the girls were also volunteers at St Monica’s Anglican school on the precincts of Christ Church Cathedral and could have been singled out as Christians.
The vicar-general of the Anglican Diocese of Zanzibar told The Church of England Newspaper the girls were not sponsored by the diocese or a mission agency. A missionary in Zanzibar told CEN the attack was likely due to the girl’s violation of the strictures of Ramadan.
“Apparently the two girls had several altercations in Stone Town before this incident. They got themselves on the radar screen” of the island’s Islamist extremists. They had an argument with a shop keeper and were “slapped” by a Muslim women for singing during Ramadan.
Our source stated “The problem with coming on their own and not being with a team of locals. Bad idea. While Stone Town is “touristy” it’s, ironically, the headquarters for the radical/separatist movement and opposition party. So it’s not a good place to be hanging if you don’t have friends and don’t know what you’re doing.”