Sabahi (Washington, DC)

20 February 2013

Tanzania: Zanzibar Protestant Church Set Ablaze

A Protestant church being rebuilt on the island of Unguja, Zanzibar, was set on fire Tuesday (February 19th), two days after the murder of Catholic priest Evarist Mushi, AFP reported.

"The evangelical church of Siloam was set on fire by unknown men," said Zanzibari police spokesman Mohamed Mhina. "There were no casualties and the fire was extinguished."

The blaze destroyed part of the church and several dozen chairs.

Attackers demolished the church last year, in what was variously described as a dispute over land ownership and a religiously motivated attack. It is not clear whether Tuesday's fire was land related or the work of religious extremists. Police are looking for suspects.

Imam of the nearby Kianga mosque Sheikh Mgilima Hassan condemned the attack, saying the mosque's leadership has no quarrel with the church, Tanzania's The Guardian reported.

Christians make up approximately 3% of Zanzibar's majority-Muslim population.

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