Suspect in acid attack surrenders to Zanzibar police

A cleric wanted in connection with the acid attack on two British teenagers in Zanzibar has handed himself in to police.

Suspect in acid attack surrenders to Zanzibar police

Sheikh Issa Ponda Issa was injured at the weekend as he tried to evade police, following the attack on Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee.

Police hunting for sheikh Ponda had said they would do “everything they can” to catch the perpetrators.

But the Telegraph last night reported that the cleric — injured after a stand-off with police — surrendered to officers.

The development came as the 18-year-olds Londoners began their third night at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

A spokesman confirmed the women are in a “stable” condition as medics treat them for burns inflicted in an unprovoked attack while they were volunteering on the island, off the coast of Tanzania.

Earlier yesterday 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.

“This is a serious police investigation, and we are doing everything we can.”

Members of both teenagers’ families are keeping a bedside vigil, after the pair were flown home and immediately sent to the capital’s regional burns centre.

One friend of the pair last night told how one of the two men involved in the unprovoked attack “smiled” before throwing acid.

Speaking from Zanzibar, medical student Olivia Moore said: “The two men were on a moped and they went past a group of tourists.

“They stopped for the girls and the two men then looked at each other, nodded, and then the man on the back of the bike smiled and threw acid on the girls.

“From then on, it’s just chaotic. There was no incident that preceded the actual attack.”

The women were in the last week of a trip as volunteer teachers to the predominantly Muslim island when the corrosive substance was thrown at them in an apparently unprovoked attack.

They had planned to return to collect their A-level results next week, with Trup hoping to study history at the University of Bristol while Gee is considering the University of Leeds.

A photograph released by the victims’ families showed the injuries one of them suffered. Acid burns are clearly visible on her chin, neck, and upper chest.

Gee’s injuries are reportedly much worse than her friend’s, because helpers used dirty water on her burns. Trup was reportedly immersed in the sea after the attack, and the salt water helped her skin.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox