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Zanzibar Acid Attack Victims To Return To UK

Two British teenagers injured in an acid attack on the island of Zanzibar are due to arrive home today.

Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, were attacked by two men on a motorbike as they walked through the historic capital Stone Town on Wednesday night.

The acid was splashed over their faces, chests, backs and hands. They have been flown to hospital in Dar es Salaam on the Tanzania mainland, where they are recovering.

The teenagers, both from north London, were expected to leave Dar es Salaam on Thursday night.

They were in the last week of a month-long trip as volunteer teachers to the predominantly Muslim island when they were attacked.

In a statement, i-to-i, which organised their visit, said: "We can now confirm that both individuals are scheduled to be repatriated to the UK.

"They are scheduled to leave Tanzania later this evening."

Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania's president, is reported to have visited them at the Aga Khan Hospital and promised that the men responsible for the "shameful" attack would be found.

Miss Gee's mother Nicky Gee told Sky News her daughter had suffered burns to her "whole face and her whole body" in the "vicious attack".

Earlier Mrs Gee said she had been struggling with the Foreign Office and the insurance company to get them flown home.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are doing all we can to support the girls' welfare and help them get home as quickly as possible.

"We facilitated the girls' flight from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam. Consular staff have been with the girls at the hospital throughout and our High Commissioner has visited the girls.

"We are liaising with the insurance company to ensure the medical evacuation happens as quickly as possible."

The attack came at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as people began to celebrate the Eid holiday.

Mrs Gee made it clear, however, that both of the women were aware of how to behave appropriately in a Muslim country and had been correctly dressed for Ramadan.

A close friend of the family told Sky News the pair had been having an amazing time and were both fully aware of the customs of a Muslim country.

But the Twitter page of Miss Gee illustrates the sensitivities of their trip. She tweeted on July 24: " A Muslim woman just hit me in the street for singing on Ramadan. Is that normal."

The assault is the first against foreigners in the popular tourist destination, however, there have been a series of local attacks in the archipelago, mainly on grounds of religion.

But Deputy Police Commissioner Mkadam Khamis told Sky News the attack had "nothing to do with Ramadan".

He said it is believed the teenagers were caught in an incident between two motorcycles and they were not the intended targets.

Zanzibar is an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean around 35km (22 miles) off the mainland.

The semi-autonomous region of Tanzania is predominantly Muslim and has been the scene of some religious violence in recent years.