A total of three grenade attacks were reported from Zanzibar’s main island of Unguja, raising concern levels among the tourism and hospitality operators, which have been doing extraordinarily well in recent months. One of the grenades was thrown on Sunday already towards an Anglican church, fueling suspicion that radical militants continue to inflict terror and inflame cross religious sentiments with their activities.
This was followed yesterday by two more incidents in the famous Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as such hugely popular with foreign tourists, when another church was targeted before the Mercury Restaurant too had a grenade thrown towards their premises.
Last year churches and Christian priests were repeatedly targeted and two British tourists attacked in the Stone Town with acid, leading to a series of raids by security forces aimed to arrest the perpetrators. The December murder of a French couple, which had chosen to make Unguja their retirement home, while thought to be an ordinary crime and not related to radical militants, too had rattled the local expatriate and tourism communities, fueling their worries over the impact of negative publicity for the destination. Tourism operators are said to be particularly unhappy with these latest incidents, one regular source claiming it will harm the image of the Spice Island and could result in tourists staying away from Zanzibar over fears of sectarian violence, which could cost hundreds of jobs if resorts would suffer from a sharp drop in occupancies.