Monday, September 16, 2013

Shameful, as another padre is attacked in Zanzibar

ZANZIBAR President Dr Mohammed Shein on Saturday last week directed the Police force to carry out thorough investigations on acid attacks and bring the suspected culprits before courts of law. Dr Shein issued the directive when he went to visit Padre Anselmo Mwang’amba of the Catholic Church who suffered te attack on Friday in Zanzibar and was later on transferred to Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam where he has been admitted. The Catholic prelate was attacked by unknown people who poured a liquid believed to be an acid on Friday evening. “My government cannot tolerate this mischief … the police must do all they can to find the culprits and let the law take its own course,” he insisted. Dr. Shein has described the act as ‘the most violent’ and that it cannot be tolerated, adding that the police force must make sure that those behind these attacks are arrested and taken to court. Dr Shein was visibly ‘grieved’ when he visited the hospital to console Padre Mwang’amba, and prayed that for his speedy recovery so he could continue serving his church and the community as a whole. Speaking with the some catholic faithful who had gathered outside the ward where Padre Mwang’amba is admitted, Dr. Shen asked them to exercise utmost patience, and assured them that his government would take drastic measures in order to curb the rising cases of acid attacks in the Isles. “It is painful to molest fellow human beings like this … no one will tolerate this at all … but be patient as the government  gets ready to take serious actions against the offenders,” he implored. During the president’s visit, Padre Mwang’amba said his condition was stable and that he could see well, although he still nurses painful swellings on his face. “My condition has improved … and I expect once a painful swelling on my face subsides, I shall be able to see properly,” he said, adding that he was ‘lucky’ he wasn’t severely affected.  He narrated that he met his fate at an area known as Mlandege late in the evening when he came out of an office from where he had gone to get access to the internet, when suddenly a young boy confronted him and poured acid on him and disappeared immediately. Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr. Mohammed Saleh Jidawi has said that Padre Mwang’amba had received all the necessary treatment he deserved at the hospital. 

Zanzibar President Dr. Mohammed Shein

On the degree of injury, Dr. Jidawi explained that about 30 percent of the priest’s body had been affected, particularly  some parts close to his eyes. Meanwhile, Padre Mwang’amba was yesterday flown to Dar es Salaam and admitted at the Muhimbili National Hospital where his Condition was described as improving. A doctor at the hospital who preferred anonymity told The Guardian on Sunday yesterday that the condition of the prelate was improving after receiving treatment. He said his patient was admitted at around 10:00am in the morning and was attended by specialist doctors at the emergency department on his arrival. Describing his condition, the doctor confirmed that the priest had suffered burns around his face, chest, hands and thighs, which he said had started to heal. A nurse in charge at Kibasila ward, Ruthguard Rutabingwa confirmed to have received a patient and that his health was stable. Machui parish, where the priest works  is located at Cheju area in the Isles, with the attack on the priest coming a month or so following a similar attack on two British young women who were teaching English at an Anglican Church school. Another victim of acid attack was Sheikh Fadhil Suleiman Saroga , a close aide of the Zanzibar chief sheikh. Two other priests were attacked by firearms; Padre Ambrose Mkenda shot at on Christmas Day and in February and Padre Evaristus Mushi was shot dead. The latest incident has sparked fears on the security situation in Zanzibar and has sent shock waves in the Christian community here. Two political figures have also come under acid attacks, the Zanzibar municipal director Rashid Ali Juma, and Mohamed Kidevu, a local government official (sheha) for Chumbuni area. Apart from young teachers from the UK, other attacks have targeted mainly religious officials, first belonging to a Muslim organization seen as allied to the CCM government, and the Catholic Church in the Isles. Padre Evarist Mushi of Minara Miwili parish in Mtoni, Zanzibar was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on a Vespa motorcycle.

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