A senior Muslim imam, himself disfigured in an acid attack nine months ago, named Uamsho or its followers as the likely culprits for the attack on Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup.
The organisation, whose leaders are in prison awaiting trial for inciting religious violence, was behind crudely-printed anti-Christian leaflets dropped around Zanzibar a fortnight ago.
They want to introduce strict dress codes for women including tourists, restrict alcohol sales and remove the islands of the Zanzibar archipelago from mainland Tanzania’s rule.
“Of course this attack on the tourists was Uamsho,” said Sheikh Fadhil Soraga, a moderate Muslim cleric who suffered extensive burns to his face and hands in an acid attack in November that he blames on the radical group.
“Just 10 days ago they were saying they were planning something. This attack, which all Muslims must condemn, is their work.”
The Reverend Cosmas Shayo, parish priest of St Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, agreed.
His predecessor, Father Evarist Mushi, was shot dead on his way home from the cathedral in February, and suspicion again fell on Uamsho.
“These people are dedicated only on bringing chaos to further their aims,” he said.
“They want to make the islands only Muslim, and first they wanted to scare Tanzanian Christians, and now they want to scare tourists, who they see as all Christians as well.”
The two latest victims were working at the St. Monica nursery school in the capital Stone Town, but had trouble with a few locals on other occasions. They were slapped by a local woman for singing during Ramadan and had an argument with a shop owner. At 7PM on Wednesday two men on a moped approached the girls, after passing many other white tourists, and threw acid on their bodies. The medical orderly who treated the girls said they should make a full recovery. They will land in England on Friday and immediately be taken to a local hospital.