Jewish teenagers injured in Zanzibar acid attack

Jewish teenagers injured in Zanzibar acid attack

Aftermath: The girls after the attack in August.
Aftermath: The girls after the attack in August.

Two teenage volunteer teachers from London have been injured in an acid attack on the African island of Zanzibar.

Katie Gee and Kirstie Tupp

Former Francis Holland School pupil Katie Gee, from East Finchley and Kirstie Trup, from Hampstead Garden Suburb, both aged 18 and members of FZY, were treated in hospital after the incident on Wednesday night.

It has been reported that they suffered face, hand and chest injuries but a government official has said the injuries are not life-threatening.

The teenagers  and were in the last week of a trip organised by Kent-based i-to-i Travel when men on a moped reportedly threw a corrosive substance at their heads and chests.

Kirstie’s father Marc told the Daily Telegraph: “We’re trying to get them back as soon as possible. We’re trying to organise a medivac flight.”

The attack took place in Stone Town, an area of the Tanzanian archipelago’s capital city, the travel company said.

In a statement, i-to-i Travel said they had been released from a hospital in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, where they had been flown for medical treatment after the “acid attack”.

“They were flown to Dar es Salaam in mainland Tanzania for medical treatment and have now been released from hospital,” it said.

“All our efforts remain focused on ensuring they are supported whilst assisting them and their relatives with the arrangements for their return home.

“i-to-i Travel is working with the authorities in their investigations and continue to liaise closely with the British consulate in Tanzania.

“The motive for the incident is as yet not known and we will await the report from the local authorities in Zanzibar before any comment can be made.

“The female clients had been volunteer teachers on Zanzibar and were in the final week of their trip.

“The safety of our customers is of paramount importance to us and our own investigation will be launched as soon as it is possible to do so and more information will be released as it becomes available.”

Zanzibar is an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean around 22 miles off the coast of mainland Tanzania.

The semi-autonomous region is predominantly Muslim and has been the scene of some religious violence in recent years. In November last year a cleric was hospitalised in an acid attack and two Christian leaders were killed earlier this year.

i-to-i Travel, which is based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, runs gap year trips to parts of Africa, Asia, central and South America and Australia, with trips to teach in Zanzibar, based in Stone Town, starting at £669 for two weeks, according to its website.

The Foreign Office travel advice for Tanzania warns that although most visits to the country are trouble-free, “violent and armed crime is increasing”.

The advice, available on its website, says: “Mugging, bag snatching (especially from passing cars) and robbery have increased throughout the country.”

It adds: “In Zanzibar incidents have taken place in Stone Town and on popular tourist beaches.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We are aware of an incident and are providing consular assistance.”

She added that officials became aware of the incident on Wednesday night.

Deputy police commissioner Mkadam Khamis told Sky News: “Police in Zanzibar have launched a manhunt, and we ask for public assistance in identifying the attackers.”

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