Blasts hit Zanzibar after poll anulled
ZANZIBAR – Two small blasts rocked streets of Zanzibar on Saturday but caused no casualties, police and an AFP reporter said, in the latest unrest following the annulment of polls on the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago.
The two devices exploded near a busy roundabout in Zanzibar town, sending people running for cover, the reporter said.
Zanzibar has experienced sectarian and political tensions in recent years — including several grenade explosions — with the unrest affecting the islands’ key tourist industry.
Late Friday, explosive experts detonated a homemade explosive device in the heart of the historic Stone Town district, a UNESCO-listed area popular with tourists.
“People found something unusual… they informed the police,” Zanzibar police chief Hamdan Omar Makame said, saying the device was safely detonated.
“We want to know the motive behind this, and we ask assistance from the public.”
After the device was found, Britain’s foreign office issued a travel warning saying: “There are heightened tensions throughout Tanzania particularly in Zanzibar.
“Violence could escalate quickly. If you’re in Zanzibar, avoid being out on the streets and avoid travelling into the centre of Stone Town if possible.”
Zanzibar’s electoral commission said last Sunday’s vote on the islands — where the 500,000 registered voters also cast ballots for Tanzania’s national president — must be carried out again, citing “violations of electoral law”.