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Catholic priest killed in Zanzibar

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Unknown attackers on a motorbike early on Sunday shot and killed a Roman Catholic priest who was on his way to celebrate Mass at Mtoni parish in Zanzibar, local media reports said. Zanzibar, an East African offshore island is part of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Father Evarist Mushi was attacked in his car as he approached the church compound by two suspects who immediately sped off, the reports added. No official statement has been issued on the murder.

The incident occurred less than two months after another Catholic priest, Ambrose Mkenda, narrowly escaped death when he was shot and injured by unknown assailants also in Zanzibar town.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Perreira Silima recently told the National Assembly that two suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack on Fr. Mkenda.

Though authorities in Tanzania maintain that the government respects religious freedom of the people on both Mainland Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) and on the Isles, of late there have been serious clashes between Muslims and Christians.

According to some media accounts, Wahhabism-influenced preachers seeking to radicalise Islam in East Africa have gained a foothold in Zanzibar and their influence was behind recent incidents of religious intolerance in the country.