Two victims of an acid attack in Zanzibar were being treated in a specialist burns unit in London on Saturday as police were ordered to arrest a radical Islamic preacher suspected of inspiring the assault.
Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18, were taken to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by ambulance as soon as their medical evacuation flight landed.
Ms Gee's mother, Nicky, said the families had been through a ''terrible ordeal'', and a friend said the girls were ''as well as can be expected''.
Ordeal: Kirstie Trup, Katie Gee. Photo: Facebook
Ms Gee sent a tweet to friends from her hospital bed saying: ''Thank you for all your support x.''
Suspicion grew that a hardline Islamic group called Uamsho might have inspired the attack. The group, which wants Zanzibar to become independent from Tanzania and impose strict Muslim rules, is thought to be behind leaflets distributed recently telling Muslims to prepare for ''a call'' to action.
Uamsho is suspected of being behind an acid attack in November on a moderate imam and the shooting dead of a Catholic priest in February.
Acid burns: Ms Gee's injuries. Photo: AP
Father Cosmas Shayo, parish priest of St Joseph's Catholic Cathedral, whose predecessor, Father Evarist Mushi, was murdered, said: ''These people are dedicated only on bringing chaos to further their aims.''
One of Uamsho's key supporters is Muslim cleric Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda, who has been urging Muslims to rise up ''like in Egypt''.
Tanzania's director of public prosecutions, Elieza Feleshi, said: ''Such behaviour is intolerable. We hope the police will exercise their powers wisely and arrest Ponda.''
As the two friends arrived back in London, Mrs Gee said: ''I am worried sick. I am just glad she is home. We spoke this morning and she said she was OK. I can't say any more.''
Ms Gee's family released a picture of her injuries, showing burns to her chest, neck and lower face.
The teenagers, who were on a month-long break volunteering for a charity when two men on a moped threw acid over them, suffered injuries to their faces, hands, legs, backs, necks and chests.
Moments after they were attacked in Stone Town, Zanzibar, they ran into the Babu Cafe on the waterfront, said Noonan Babu, the restaurant owner.
''[Ms Gee] came in crying and shouting, 'my face, my face, my face', and she ran straight to the toilet to splash herself with water,'' Mr Noonan said.
''My staff and other people helped her by giving her big bottles of water from the fridge to cover herself with and wash off the liquid. It was all over her. [Ms Trup] ran straight to the sea to try to wash it off.''
Ms Trup's father, Marc, said the teenagers were well aware of the need to dress modestly and had been told not to wear any symbols of their Jewish faith.
Zanzibar police chief Mussa Ali Mussa said seven people had been questioned about the attack but no one had been arrested.
Tourism Minister Said Ali Mbarouk said anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the assailants would be given 10 million Tanzanian shillings ($5000).
''We have to work harder to make sure that Zanzibar is safe for visitors and citizens,'' he said.
Telegraph, London; AFP