29 December 2012

Tanzania: Zanzibar Injured Priest Undergoes Surgery At MOI

THE Zanzibar Catholic Diocese's Father Ambrose Mkenda on Saturday underwent surgery procedure at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) to remove bullets from his body.

The MOI Information Officer, Mr Almasi Jumaa, told the 'Daily News on Saturday' in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the priest who was referred on Wednesday to Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) was improving gradually.

Catholics in Zanzibar had a blue Christmas on Tuesday following the incident where the priest 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.

Father Arbogast Mushi of the Catholic Diocese of Zanzibar, said Fr Mkenda was shot at Tomondo area, as he was getting off the car he was driving at his gate. "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 MNH.

Meanwhile, reports from Zanzibar say that a special team of detectives from the Police Headquarters in Dar es Salaam was yesterday dispatched to Isles to join their counterparts in investigating the cause of the attack on the priest.

A statement released quoted the Zanzibar Deputy Director for Criminal Investigation, ACP Yusuf Ilembo, as saying that the team would be led by a senior officer in the police force. Mr Ilembo said that the team has been sent by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Saidi Mwema, with aim to reinforce the investigation.

He said the team would ensure that the suspects are arrested and are brought to justice. Police will also investigate the motive behind the attack given the fact that the attackers did not take anything from the priest.

Mr Ilembo called for residents of the Isles to give maximum cooperation by alerting the police on any suspicious movements in their areas. In another development, reports from Zanzibar indicate that several people are being questioned over the shooting of the Roman Catholic priest, the Commissioner of Police- Zanzibar said yesterday.

"The search for the criminals continues and we have identified several people for questioning, but so far we have not arrested anybody," Commissioner of Police in Zanzibar Mussa Ali said. He confirmed that a team of criminal investigators from Dar es Salaam have joined their colleagues on the Isles to hunt for the criminals and also find out possible motives behind the attack of the priest.

"So far we cannot release names of those being questioned, but they include auxiliary guards at the home of the priest," he said. Christian community in Zanzibar led by Mr Michael Hafidh from the Anglican Church and other people including leaders condemned the Tuesday 7.45pm incident, the first in Zanzibar history to happen on Christmas day.

This was the second attack on religious leaders this year, after unidentified man attacked a Muslim cleric, Sheikh Fadhil Soraga, with acid, damaging his face and chest. Soraga just back from treatment in India is still at home nursing his body.

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