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Catholic priest suffers burns in Zanzibar acid attack

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A Roman Catholic priest is recovering after an attack after acid was flung at him on the African island of Zanzibar. A similar attack was carried out against two British teenage girls there a month ago.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Elderly priest Joseph Mwang'amba was attacked after leaving an Internet cafe in the Mlandege area. "He sustained burns in his face and shoulders. The acid burnt through his shirt," Zanzibar police spokesman Mohamed Mhina said.

Tensions have risen between the majority Muslim population and Christians have been on the increase in recent years, as well as on mainland Tanzania.

Tanzanian police are searching for witnesses to the attack which occurred in the old part of Zanzibar City, Stone Town, late last week.

It's the fifth such incident in a series of assaults on religious figures in the country since November, when a Muslim cleric was hospitalized with acid burns. A Catholic priest was shot dead in February.

An attack on two British girls in August occurred in the same part of Stone Town. The teenagers, Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup had acid flung at them as they visited Zanzibar on a volunteering holiday. Doctors believed that their attackers used sulfuric acid from a car battery. It's believed that the girls will need skin grafts.

Zanzibari officials offered a $6,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

A popular tourist destination, the acid attacks came as a shock to many residents of Zanzibar who say attacks on foreign travelers are rare.

Zanzibar's President Ali Mohammed Shein said the assault had "brought chaos and confusion to our country and outside."

No arrests have been made in the two most recent incidents. These incident in the semi-autonomous, mainly Muslim islands of Tanzania follows warnings by President Kikwete that religious tension threatens the general welfare in the nation of 45 million people.

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