Two teenagers flown home from Zanzibar after acid attack
Two British teenage girls injured in an acid attack on the island of Zanzibar have returned home to their families in the UK, Friday morning.
Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, were attacked by two men on a motorbike at 7pm local time as they walked through the capital of Stone Town on Wednesday. The duo were volunteers with the charity Art in Tanzania and were teaching at the St Monica nursery school, linked to the Catholic church in Zanzibar. They had arrived in the country two weeks ago and were due to leave next Saturday.
Both victims ran towards the sea in a desperate attempt to wash the acid off their skins. They were helped by passers-by who informed the police and the two were later airlifted to Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
It was reported that Tanzania’s president, Jayaka Kikwete visited the girls at the hospital, and has promised that “the men responsible for the shameful attack would be found”.
Police have launched a manhunt for the attackers. Zanzibar’s assistant commissioner of police Mkadan Khamis Mkadan said: “We don’t know the motive of this attack. Normally these guys on motorbikes grab cameras and bags but this is new. It is worrying.”
The travel company i-to-i Travel, based in Tunbridge Wells, who runs gap year trips to Africa, Asia, central and South America and Australia had organised their visits and is soon to launch an investigation in to the attack.
The incident occurred at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as people began to celebrate the festival of Eid.
The acid assault on foreigners is first of this kind in Zanzibar, though there have been a series of such attacks in the archipelago, mainly for religious reasons. A Catholic priest was shot dead in February and a cleric was targeted in an acid attack last November.
The Foreign Office has warned travellers to take sensible precautions to protect themselves and their belongings and said although most visits to Tanzania and Zanzibar are trouble-free, “violent and armed crime is increasing”.