A reward is being offered for information about the attacks on Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, two British teenagers, in Zanzibar.
Assailants on the East African island of Zanzibar threw acid on the two British women, who are volunteering at a primary school on the Tanzanian island, police said Thursday.
The attackers, riding on a small motorcycle, threw the acid on the women’s faces and arms as they were walking, said Mkadam Khamis, a police commander on the island. The attack took place Wednesday night in an area of the island’s capital city known as Stone Town, an area popular with tourists.
The Zanzibar government is offering 10m Tanzanian shillings, or $6,170, for information leading to the capture of the attackers, according to BBC. The island’s Police Commissioner Musa Ali Musa told the BBC that there was “no prime suspect” for the attack, while police have already questioned a lot of people but no has been arrested yet.
Religious leaders on the island told the Daily Telegraph that followers of Uamsho, which wants Zanzibar to become independent of mainland Tanzania and impose stricter Muslim rules, may be behind the attacks.
“Of course this attack on the tourists was Uamsho,” said Sheikh Fadhil Soraga, a moderate Muslim cleric who suffered extensive burns to his face and hands in an acid attack in November that he blames on the radical group.
“Just 10 days ago they were saying they were planning something. This attack, which all Muslims must condemn, is their work.”
The Telegraph reported that police were interrogating five men about the attack.
The women were transferred to Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, for medical treatment, and then evacuated to the United Kingdom. The pair were volunteer teaching at a primary school affiliated with the Anglican Church.
Acid attacks scar their victims. Zanzibar has experienced a bout of Christian vs. Muslim violence in recent months, though authorities did not immediately provide a motive for the attack.
The attack against the Britons is at least the third acid attack in Zanzibar since last year.
“We are looking after the attackers, and we are expanding our police networks in and outside the country to make sure we apprehend them”, said Khamis.
A spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office said Britain is aware of the incident and is providing consular assistance to the women.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.