Zanzibari Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Said Ali Mbarouk has re-assured tourists and investors that Zanzibar is safe for visitors, dispelling fears of interfaith conflict on the island, Tanzania's Daily News reported Monday (February 25th).
Mbarouk's statement follows the killing of Catholic priest Evarist Mushi by unknown gunmen near his church this month and an attempt on the life of Father Ambrose Mkenda at Christmas.
"This is a misfortune on all counts, especially for the priests' family and the Christian community," Mbarouk said. "But from the perspective of visitor safety, and in comparison with other parts of the world, Zanzibar still is, and will continue to be, a safe destination for travellers from around the world."
Police have announced a 20-million shilling ($12,300) reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible for either incident, and a 5-million shilling ($3,000) reward for information on November's acid attack on Muslim cleric Sheikh Fadhil Suleiman Soraga.
Zanzibar's First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad warned media outlets to take care in their coverage of these incidents to avoid fanning religious hatred.
"It is bad that we have lost a priest," he said. "But this should not in any way be propagated that Christians and Muslims in Zanzibar are in conflict or that there are terrorists in Zanzibar."