Violence hits Zanzibar voting centre

At least nine people, including a police officer, have been wounded on Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar in political violence.

    Voter registration in Zanzibar was briefly suspended last week

    "Assailants armed with iron rods and machetes attacked people in

    a queue at Kinuni voters' registration centre," George Kizuguto, the

    police spokesman for Zanzibar township, said on Thursday.

    He said nine people, including the officer, had been

    hospitalised as a result of the attack.

    The incident, which took place on the outskirts of Zanzibar town

    on Wednesday, was the latest in a series of attacks related to the

    upcoming general elections that have polarised tense

    relations between the island's main political rivals.

    Witnesses said the attackers were supporters of the ruling Chama

    Cha Mapindizi (CCM - Revolutionary Party) and the wounded - with the

    exception of the police officer - were members of the opposition

    Civic United Front (CUF).

    The identities of those involved could not be independently

    confirmed.

    The attack comes a day after another group of armed men,

    allegedly CCM supporters, wounded three CUF party agents at a voter

    registration centre.

    The attack

    Witnesses to that incident on Tuesday said about 70 assailants

    disembarked from pickups and started hitting people in the

    Kinuni area of the island, which has a history of political

    violence. 

    "We are working on each incident carefully so that we can bring

    all the culprits to book"

    Ramadhani Kinyogo,
    Zanzibar's deputy director of criminal investigations

    "They got off from the cars, came towards the queue and started

    beating up people who were at the place to register in the voters'

    book," one witness said on condition he not be named. 

    Zanzibar's Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations Ramadhani

    Kinyogo said police were looking into all the incidents and

    allegations of political motivation and would take necessary

    action.

    "We are working on each incident carefully so that we can bring

    all the culprits to book," Kinyogo said.

    Voter registration on Zanzibar was briefly suspended last week

    in an effort by election authorities to cool tensions that have flared

    since the beginning of March.

    Opposition parties throughout Tanzania repeatedly say t

    hat the CCM has recruited armed youth, notably in Zanzibar, to

    intimidate voters from registering for the 30 October polls, but the

    ruling party denies the claims.

    SOURCE: AFP


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