Two British Women Working for an Arts Charity are Attacked with Acid in Zanzibar
Two British women have had acid thrown in their faces in Zanzibar, police on the east African island say.
Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18 and from London, were working as volunteer teachers on the island.
Their mothers, Nicky Gee and Rochelle Trup, said they expected them to return to the UK on Thursday night.
The Foreign Office said it was “concerned to hear of an attack on two British nationals” and was “providing consular assistance”.
The girls’ mothers said in a statement: “Both families are extremely upset and distressed at this completely unprovoked attack on their lovely daughters who had only gone to Zanzibar with good intention. We understand that they will be flying home overnight.
“We appreciate all the interest and support we have received from the media but we would ask that we are left alone until we have been reunited with our daughters.”
Nicky Gee told Sky News her daughter’s whole face and body had been burned by acid in the attack.
Police said two men on a moped threw the acid at the women, splashing their faces, chests and hands as they walked through the streets of Stone Town, the old part of the island’s capital Zanzibar City, which is a Unesco world heritage site.
Deputy police commissioner Mkadam Khamis told AFP news agency: “The motive for the attack on the volunteers aged 18 years, has not been established. Investigations are on until we apprehend the criminals.”
The two women were volunteers for the charity Art in Tanzania, having booked through the company i-to-i Travel.
The police on Zanzibar said it was the first time foreigners had been attacked in this way.
Map of Zanzibar
The BBC’s Tulanana Bohela in Dar es Salaam says Islam is the main religion on Zanzibar and in more remote parts of the island, away from tourist beaches, there are signs asking foreigners to respect the local culture and cover up - in case skimpy outfits upset villagers.
However, most islanders depend on tourism for their livelihoods and are happy to see tourists and there is little antagonism towards them, she says.
Tanzania’s minister of information, tourism, culture and sports, Said Ali Mbarouk, condemned the attack.
“We should co-operate with other government sectors to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice,” he said.