U.K. girls treated after acid attack in Zanzibar

AFP-JIJI

Two British teenage girls were being treated for burns at a London hospital Saturday after acid was hurled in their faces on the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar.

Doctors said Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18, were doing “well” after Wednesday’s attack, and Gee took to Twitter to thank supporters for their good wishes.

The girls, close friends who were working for three weeks as volunteer teachers on Zanzibar, were attacked by two men on a motorbike as they strolled through the island’s historic center, Stone Town.

Local authorities have offered a reward for the capture of the perpetrators, and Zanzibar police said Friday that seven people have been questioned so far.

Trup’s father told The Times newspaper that efforts to help one of the girls after the attack had actually made her injuries worse. Although one girl was immersed in the sea, where the saltwater soothed her wounds, the other was doused with dirty water that only made things worse. Jeremy Gee, the father of the other victim, described the burns as “horrendous.”

The girls, who are due to start university in the coming weeks, were first flown to Dar es Salaam for treatment, and then on to London on Friday. Hospital employees in Dar es Salaam said their injuries were relatively minor and suggested the liquid may have been diluted acid.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Zanzibar, a semiautonomous part of Tanzania that is famed for its pristine white-sand beaches.

Some of the island’s more conservative Muslims object to foreign tourists who wear revealing clothes. But the girls’ families said they had been careful to dress modestly while out on the streets of Zanzibar and avoided displays of their Jewish faith.