27 December 2012

Tanzania: Catholic Priest Shot in Zanzibar

CATHOLICS in Zanzibar had a blue Christmas on Tuesday, after one of their priests was seriously injured by two unidentified men who shot him with two bullets, one hitting him on the cheek and another sinking in his back.

Speaking to the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam , Father Arbogast Mushi of the Catholic Diocese of Zanzibar, said his colleague, Father Ambrose Mkenda was shot at Tomondo area, as he was getting prepared to alight from his Toyota RAV4 car.

"He had gone to celebrate mass at Mpendae area and as he was driving back to Tomondo he noticed two people who were following him closely by motorcycle," said Father Mushi who had accompanied the injured Father Mkenda to Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

According to Father Mushi, the distressing event happened at around 7:30 am, when he heard two shootings. It did not take long time before the watchman came and told him that Father Mkenda had seriously been injured outside the gate.

"I came out of my room and found Father Mkenda bleeding. I decided to take him to Al Raham dispensary at Kilimani where the doctors provided us with an ambulance that took the injured priest to Mnazi Mmoja hospital.

"The doctors acted fast to save his life," Father Mushi said. He added that he has reported the matter at Mwanakwerekwe police station.

Meanwhile, ISSA YUSSUF reports from Zanzibar that police have begun a manhunt for the two gunmen who shot Father Mkenda.

The Urban-West Regional Police Commander (RPC), Aziz Juma, said the investigation includes the motive behind the attack. Father Mkenda was flown to Dar es Salaam for further treatment yesterday.

According to Father Mushi, Muhimbili doctors have started attending to Father Mkenda and by yesterday evening, his condition was said to be improving. Mr Michael Hafidh from the Anglican Church in Zanzibar has been joined by other members from the Christian community to condemn the incident, the first of its kind in the history of Zanzibar.

Followers of Christianity in the Isles have blamed the police for insensitivity to the welfare of the wananchi, even after unidentified people displayed leaflets recently that carried messages that incited people to commit crimes.

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