7 November 2012

Tanzania: Muslim Cleric Injured in Acid Attack

POLICE here have launched a manhunt for a suspect who threw a liquid believed to be acid on the Zanzibar Mufti Secretary, Sheikh Fadhil Suleiman Soraga, injuring him severely in the face and other parts of his body.

President Jakaya Kikwete visited Mr Suleiman who is admitted to the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.The victim of the acid attack was flown to Dar es Salaam for advanced medical treatment.Family, friends and well-wishers including government officials had earlier flocked the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar where Mr Suleiman was rushed for treatment after the morning attack at Magomeni.

Upon preliminary treatment and examination, a team of medical doctors including Dr Malik Abdallah Juma (Director General in the Ministry of Health), and Dr Naufal Kassim (Hospital superintendent) made the decision of transferring the victim to Aga Khan and later Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

The deputy Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI)- Zanzibar, Yussuf Ilemba, said preliminary inquiry shows that Fadhil was doing physical exercises close to his home when someone pretending also to do exercises threw acid into his face and escaped."Investigations are on till we apprehend the criminal. Police in Zanzibar have launched a manhunt and we ask the public for assistance in identifying the attacker. We need to keep these Islands free of hooligans and gangs," said the DCI.

The motive behind the attack and the identity of the person responsible for the act is yet to be established, the DCI added. The Mufti Office, under the Ministry of Constitution and Legal affairs is the supreme body for Muslim affairs in Zanzibar.Zanzibar has recorded disturbing incidents of violation of human rights in the past three weeks after the alleged kidnap of Uamsho Muslim group leader Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmad, sparked an unrest in Zanzibar followed by police arrests.

Farid and seven others are in remand charged with conspiracy to kidnap and illegal demonstrations which led to the destruction of properties and at least three deaths including that of a police officer.

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