Sunday, December 30, 2012
Catholic Priest Seriously Wounded in Zanzibar
Tanzania suspected Islamist extremists shoot clergyman through cheeks on Christmas Day
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
NAIROBI, KENYA (ANS) -- Suspected Islamic extremists on Christmas Day shot a Roman Catholic priest on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, seriously wounding him, area church leaders said.
According to a story by Morning Star News, two individuals on a motorcycle shot Rev. Ambrose Mkenda through his cheeks and in the shoulder before 8 p.m. as he arrived home in Tomondo. That’s about four miles from Zanzibar city, capital of the semi-autonomous island in the Indian Ocean about 25 kilometers (16 miles) off the coast of Tanzania.
Morning Star News said Christian leaders suspected members of the separatist group Uamsho or "Awakening," the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation. The group has threatened Christians since an Oct. 10 children's argument in Dar es Salaam resulted in a boy allegedly defiling the Koran. Key Uamsho leaders were jailed for subsequent attacks on church buildings.
“Just as he was arriving at the gate, the suspected group shot him from his right through his cheeks, and he became unconscious,” said Lucian Mgaywa, general secretary of the Church of God in Zanzibar. “He was then rushed to Mnazi Mmoja Hospital”"
Morning Star News reported that a priest at Mpedae Parish three miles from Zanzibar city, Mkenda's condition deteriorated and he was flown to the Tanzania mainland the following day and put in intensive care.
“As of Dec. 27, his health had worsened, and he was then taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam, to try to save his life,” Mgaywa said.
Morning Star News said Uamsho distributed leaflets threatening church leaders in Zanzibar in October, when authorities arrested group Commander Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed and six others following several attacks on church buildings on Zanzibar and the mainland.
“The threats issued by Uamsho read, ‘We now want the heads of all the church pastors in Zanzibar,’” Morning Star News reported Mgayway said.
He added, “Such utterances caused a lot of panic, and some of the pastors feared for their lives and fled out of Zanzibar to the mainland of Tanzania.”
For more information about Morning Star News go to at http://morningstarnews.org
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