Zanzibar mosque bombing kills one, wounds seven

DAR ES SALAAM Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:57am EDT

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DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - A bomb explosion killed one person and wounded at least seven in front of a mosque near Zanzibar's capital Stone Town, police said on Saturday.

Tanzania's Indian Ocean archipelago, famed for its white-sand beaches and historic buildings, has been hit by a series of bomb attacks over the past year, targeting mosques, churches and restaurants.

"Unknown assailants threw a hand-made explosive device from a passing car as worshippers emerged from a mosque in the Darajani area on Friday night," Zanzibar police spokesman Mohammed Mhina told Reuters by phone.

"One person was killed and seven were injured."

Mhina said the attackers targeted the worshippers who had just heard a sermon by preachers from mainland Tanzania calling for peace.

Zanzibar is a growing headache for the Tanzanian government because of mounting sectarian tensions.

Many Muslims living along Tanzania's coast feel marginalized by the secular government, providing fertile recruitment grounds for Islamist groups such as al Shabaab, which operates in Somalia further north on Africa's east coast.

"No suspects have been arrested so far. An investigation is underway to determine who carried out the latest attack and what their motives were," said Mhina.

In February, homemade bombs went off near an Anglican cathedral and a restaurant popular with tourists on the semi-autonomous and mainly Muslim islands. There were no casualties.

Last year a Roman Catholic priest was attacked with acid and two men threw a corrosive liquid over two British teenagers in Zanzibar, attacks that marred its image as a tourist-friendly destination.

In mainland Tanzania, two bomb attacks last year in Arusha, a popular destination for Western tourists in the north, killed five people, while another in April wounded 15.

(Reporting Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by George Obulutsa and Rosalind Russell)

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