The Tanzanian government has launched a task force to track down those responsible for throwing sulphuric acid in the faces of two British women.
The government also plans to regulate the sale of acid.
But the mode of attack is not new. This year alone there have been four other incidents in which acid has been thrown.
No arrests have been made and the motives are not known, but they could be religious, political or an expression of commercial rivalry.
Kristie Trup and Katie Gee (both 18) were working as volunteer teachers at the Anglican church in Zanzibar when two men on a motorcycle threw acid over them while they were walking through the historic Stone Town area on August 3.
They suffered face, hand and chest burns. The women have now returned to the United Kingdom, where they are reportedly awaiting skin grafts.
Media reports indicate that earlier that day, the two had been slapped in the face by a woman who accused them of singing during Ramadan.
Said Ali Mbarouk, the minister of information, culture, sports and tourism, has announced a reward of one million Tanzanian shillings for information leading to the arrest of their assailants.
But Muslims have also been the victims of recent acid attacks.
- On July 19 2013, businessman Said Mohammed Saad had acid thrown over him by two people on a motorbike. Said was flown to South Africa for treatment;
- In June, Sheikh Said Juma Makamba was the victim of an acid attack at his home in the Arusha region;
- In November 2012, Sheikh Fadhil Suleiman Soraga from Zanzibar had acid thrown in his face by unknown assailants; and
- On September 9 2012, Musa Tesha, a member of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi party, was attacked on his way back from a rally.
"Tourism is the lifeblood of the semi-autonomous Tanzanian island," Mbarouk said. "We have to work harder to make sure that Zanzibar is safe for visitors and citizens." Tanzania's chief government chemist, Samwel Mwanywele, said this week that henceforth, the government would control the importation, purchase and supply of acid, and that "personal details of purchasers must be kept".
A quick survey showed that sulphuric acid is freely available in Tanzania, including in school laboratories.
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