11 Aug 2013

‘Smiled and threw acid’ – Zanzibar acid attack, new details

A friend who was with two British girls moments after they had acid thrown over them in Zanzibar has revealed details of the attack.

Medical student Olivia Moore, a friend of Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, was with them moments after the attack. She described to Channel 4 News what the two teenagers had told her.

The man on the back of the bike smiled and threw acid on the girls. Olivia Moore

She said: “The two men were on a moped and they went past a group of tourists, and then stopped for the girls.

“The two men then looked at each other, they nodded, and then the man on the back of the bike smiled and threw acid on the girls. From then on it is just chaotic.”

She added that the attack was completely “unexplained and unprovoked”. “Nobody knows why the girls were attacked or what the motivation was for it,” she said.

Ms Moore also described to Channel 4 News how there was a severe lack of resources at the hospital where the two girls were being treated. She said Katie and Kirstie both needed to be showered, but this couldn’t be done at the hospital, so they were taken back to their hotels.

‘Everything we can’

The new details emerge as police in Zanzibar say they will do “everything they can” to catch the attackers.

A Muslim preacher, Sheikh Issa Ponda Issa, is wanted in connection with the attack. He is said to be on the run after being shot at by officers.

It has been reported that he was hit with a tear-gas canister as he tried to escape from officers after being cornered near Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam.

Faustine Shilogile, a police commander in Morogoro, where the sheikh was shot, said: “He has not been arrested. He has been shot at. We have been looking for him in all corners of the country.”

‘Rested and comfortable’

The victims, both 18 and from north London, continue to be treated in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where they are said to be “well rested and comfortable”.

A hospital spokesman said today: “The patients are well-rested and comfortable at the hospital. They have been with their families all day.
“Doctors are continuing to assess treatment options for both patients.”

On Saturday, Katie Gee tweeted thanks from her hospital bed for the support she has received.