British charity workers injured in Zanzibar acid attack

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Video Discription: Originally published on August 8, 2013

Two teenage British charity workers had acid thrown on their faces, chests and arms by men on a motorbike in Tanzania's semi-autonomous Zanzibar region, a senior police official said on Thursday.

Volunteer teachers Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18 and from Manchester, were walking on a street at around 7:15 p.m. in Zanzibar's historic Stone Town when two men on a motorcycle poured acid on them, Zanzibar's assistant commissioner of police Mkadam Khamis Mkadam said.

Gee and Trup reportedly ran to the sea to wash the acid off. The girls managed to quickly receive first aid, Mkadam said, and were were flown to hospital in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam. Doctors say their injuries were relatively minor and that they have not been permanently disfigured.

According to Reuters: "[Gee and Trup] had been volunteering at a local school in Zanzibar, an island that is popular with international tourists but has suffered a wave of deadly protests last year as supporters of an Islamist group repeatedly clashed with the police."

"The police described the attack as 'an isolated incident', refusing to link it to rising religious tension on the island between majority Muslims and its Christian population.
"The attack comes during the tourist season in the historic town and after a Zanzibar Muslim leader, Sheikh Fadhil Suleiman Soraga, was hospitalized with acid burns in a November attack.

"Two Christian leaders were killed early this year in separate attacks.
"A separatist group in Zanzibar, Uamsho (Awakening), is pushing for the archipelago to exit from its 1964 union with mainland Tanzania, which is ruled as a secular country. Uamsho wants to introduce Islamic Sharia law in Zanzibar.

"Supporters of the group have engaged in running street battles with the police in the past, but authorities have not linked the group with the attacks on Christian clerics."


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