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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

RC priest shot on X-mas in Zanzibar

27th December 2012
Medical staff take Father Ambrose Mkenda from Zanzibar’s Mnazi Mmoja Hospital to the airport yesterday before he was flown to Dar es Salaam for specialised attention at Muhimbili National Hospital. (Photo: Correspondent Martin Kabemba)

A Priest with Mpendae Roman Catholic Church in Zanzibar Ambrose Mkenda was shot by unidentified people, at his Tomondo residence on Christmas Day.

Reports say Father Mkenda was shot twice as he entered his Tomondo residence, from work on Tuesday.
Police in Zanzibar have launched a manhunt to arrest those involved in the incident.

Aziz Juma Mohammed the Zanzibar Urban Regional Police Commander told The Guardian: “Two gunmen on a motorcycle took aim at the priest as he arrived home, waiting for the gate to be opened. They immediately vanished.”  He identified the car the priest was driving as Toyota Rav4 with registration number Z 586 AW.

The RPC said of the two shots fired at 8.00pm, one hit the priest in the shoulder and the other his cheek, adding that they found two empty cartridges at the residence gate.
For his part, the priest’s security guard said he only heard two sounds of gunshot, but did not immediately realise that his boss had been shot.

“This is unacceptable, the police force will work tirelessly to ensure that the culprits are brought to account,” he said, attributing power rationing in the area to have made it possible for the gunmen to commit the wanton act and disappear without being recognised.

Commander Mohamed said the police have formed a special team led by the Regional Crimes Officer to hunt down the suspects.

Meanwhile Commander Mohammed said after he was shot, Father Mkenda was rushed to Mnazi Mmoja Referral Hospital in Zanzibar from where he was referred to Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam for further treatment.

He warned that the shooting of the cleric in the region should not be attributed to insufficient police patrols during Christmas festivities, insisting that adequate security was available at all houses of prayer.

The commander noted that Father Mkenda is an accountant by profession and is mandated to collect all contributions made in the Church.

“In the belief that during Christmas worshippers make big contributions, there is the possibility that the criminals intended to grab the believers’ contributions,” the commander claimed.

According to the police, the suspected criminals did not take anything from the survivor.
“We’re also investigating whether anything was taken from the priest,” he added.

Father Arbogast Mushi, Managing Director for St Francis Maria Libaman School, who accompanied Father Mkenda to Muhimbili National Hospital said yesterday they decided to take the fight for the priest’s life to MNH after a mini-surgery to his cheek had been performed.

He said the priest was referred to MNH after it was realised that he had wasted too much blood and was continuing to bleed.

Commenting on the incident, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Zanzibar Cosmas Shao said the church has left the investigation of the matter to the police force and that it will continue to pray for Father Mkenda’s recovery.

For his part, Bishop Michael Hafidhi of the Anglican Church in Zanzibar blamed the police force for failing to protect the people and their property in the Isles.

He said before the incident, some fliers that incited violence were circulated but police did not take any action.
The secretary to the Chief Mufti of Zanzibar - Sheikh Fadhir Suleiman Soraga, was seriously wounded last month after chemicals were poured on him.