1 February 2013

Tanzania: 'Cleric Attacks Not Religiously Motivated'

Dodoma — Preliminary investigations indicate that incidents of recent attacks against faith-based leaders in Zanzibar are not religiously motivated, the National Assembly was told.

The Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Pereira Silima said in Dodoma that attacks were the work of criminals who had sinister and personal motives.

Mr Silima said that following such incidents, the police force bolstered security by increasing patrols in various parts in the Isles.

According to Tanzania Daily News, recently, two religious clerics were attacked in Zanzibar with the Secretary to the Zanzibar Chief Sheikh (Mufti), Sheikh Fadhili Soraga sustaining serious injuries, after he was smeared with acid by assailants, while a catholic priest, Father Ambrose Mkenda was shot, thus sustaining injuries.

Mr Silima said that the police in Zanzibar are looking for more suspects involved in the two attacks, while efforts are going on to sensitize the public to reveal those responsible in the distressing acts. He said that hitherto five people have been arrested, three for complicity in the acid attack against Sheikh Soraga while two are being held for their involvement in shooting Father Mkenda.

The Deputy Minister also hinted that it has come to their attention that there is a need to educate the public on the importance of maintaining peace and order and the dangers involved once the country plunges into chaos.

He also said that they are investigating organisations registered in country which have been repeatedly linked to acts of violence to establish if they are being financed by foreign elements and for what purpose. "Deregistering such organizations will be among the actions taken against them while individuals will face the law," he said.

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