Zanzibar Acid Victims Home, Police Question Two Suspects

Zanzibar attack

Zanzibar acid attack victims Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee are back home in the U.K. as Tanzanian islands police continue to look for their attackers.

Authorities say that they have two individuals in custody for questioning, but a 10 million-shilling ($6,200) reward for information leading to more arrests still stands. There are few details on the two suspects in custody, but police say that the motive for the attack is still unknown.

Last Friday, Trup and Gee, both 18, were attacked by two men on a motorbike who splashed acid on them. The two young British women were in Zanzibar as volunteer teachers, and seemed to have had trouble acclimating the culture.

“A Muslim woman just hit me in the street for singing on Ramadan,” Gee wrote on Facebook on July 24. “Is that normal?”

There is no evidence that the attack was religiously motivated, or that Uamsho, a local hardline Islamist group, was involved.

But violent crime in Zanzibar has been increasing lately, and some authorities in the country say there is an “underlying threat of terrorism.”

Said Ali Mbarouk, Tanzania’s minister of information, tourism, culture and sports said: “I beg our nationals, this is not something they should be doing,” in reference to crime and violence in the country that impedes tourism and harms the economy. He continued, “it’s a bad thing and it should be condemned by all citizens of Zanzibar.”

Gee’s father, Jeremy, has said that his daughter is “absolutely devastated,” and added, “The photographs that I have seen are absolutely horrendous. The level of the burns are beyond imagination.”

Trup’s father Marc said that both teens are “inconsolable.”

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous island off the coast of Tanzania. About 75,000 British nationals visit the country each year as tourists.