Zanzibar Site of Acid Attack on Priest

A priest from the Roman Catholic faith who resides in Zanzibar had to receive treatment from a hospital due to attackers throwing acid at him while he was walking along a street, said police.

Joseph Anselmo Mwagambwa, the priest, who is quite elderly, was attacked as he walked out of an internet café in the old port of the capital. The attack was similar to one carried out there, against a pair of young women from the UK last month.

Tensions have increased over the past few years between Christians and the Muslims, who are in the majority. The same is taking place on Tanzania’s mainland.

A spokesperson for the Zanzibar police, Mohamed Mhina told reporters that the priest had sustained a number of burns to areas of his shoulders and face. The spokesman said the acid had burnt through the priest’s clothing.

Police in Tanzanian said they were searching for any witnesses that were present when the attack took place in the old town area of Zanzibar late in the afternoon on Friday.

On the island, a key source of resident’s income is tourism, with over 200,000 visitors arriving in Zanzibar in 2012.

This is just the most recent of a series of attacks on religious figures in Tanzania. It is the fifth time acid has been used in an attack since November of last year, when a Muslim cleric needed hospitalization after receiving severe burns from acid.

This past February, in a sign that tensions had escalated further, a Catholic priest died after being shot.

The attack against the two girls from the UK occurred in August in the same area of the old section of Zanzibar City.

The president of Zanzibar said the assaults have brought confusion and chaos to the country. Officials from Zanzibar are offering a reward of $6,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of those who carried out the attack.

Residents, who know how important tourism is, said attacks are very rare against foreign visitors.

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