UK & World News
Zanzibar Acid Attack Teens Back Home In UK
Two girls from London who had acid thrown in their faces on the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar have arrived back in Britain.
:: WARNING: This story contains a graphic image depicting acid burns
A medevac plane carrying Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, landed at RAF Northolt at lunchtime and the pair were taken away in two ambulances.
They were then transferred to the specialist burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and reunited with their families.
The teenagers were attacked by two men on a motorbike as they walked through the historic capital Stone Town on Wednesday night.
The acid was splashed over their faces, chests, backs and hands.
Their arrival back in Britain came as a Zanzibar police chief told Sky News that five people have been questioned over the acid attack.
Regional police commander Mkadam Khamis said two of the suspects are being detained for further interrogation while the other three have been released.
Police on the island have also offered a reward of 10 million Tanzanian shillings (£4,000) for information leading to any arrests.
Sky News Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lisa Holland said there were some suggestions that one of the people held was a local shopkeeper who had been in an altercation with one of the girls a few days before.
But she added that the motive remained unclear - with other reports of eyewitnesses saying the acid was not intended for the British teenagers but someone else walking down the road.
The pair, who had been volunteering at an orphanage on the island, were taken to hospital in Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian mainland, before being flown home.
Miss Gee's mother Nicky Gee told Sky News her daughter had suffered burns to her "whole face and her whole body" in the "vicious attack".
A photograph released by the girls' families showed the injuries Miss Gee of them suffered in the attack.
The girl is shown wearing an open striped shirt and a silver necklace. What appear to be acid burns are clearly visible on her chin, neck and upper chest.
Miss Trup also reportedly received horrific burns and was said to be "inconsolable".
The young women, who are from north London and were planning to start university in the autumn, were enjoying the last week of a trip as volunteer teachers to the predominantly Muslim island when a corrosive substance was thrown at them.
The trip had been organised by i-to-i Travel, which is based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and runs gap year trips to parts of Africa, Asia, central and South America and Australia.
Trips to teach in Zanzibar, based in Stone Town, start at £669 for two weeks, according to its website.
In its latest statement, i-to-i Travel confirmed the girls had been repatriated to the UK and said: "We welcome the proactive investigations being carried out by local authorities in Zanzibar and continue to liaise with them.
"We wish the girls a fast and full recovery and our thoughts are with them and their families at this difficult time."
The organisation added that it had advised all its customers still in Zanzibar "to remain vigilant" and anyone due to fly out there this weekend had been given the option to volunteer at a different project, but all had chosen to continue to travel to Tanzania.
The Foreign Office travel advice for Tanzania warns that although most visits to the country are trouble-free, "violent and armed crime is increasing".
The advice, available on its website, says: "Mugging, bag snatching (especially from passing cars) and robbery have increased throughout the country."
It adds: "In Zanzibar, incidents have taken place in Stone Town and on popular tourist beaches."
Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania's president, is reported to have visited the women at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam and promised that the men responsible for the "shameful" attack would be found.
Zanzibar is an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean around 22 miles off the mainland.
The semi-autonomous region of Tanzania is predominantly Muslim and has been the scene of some religious violence in recent years.
Earlier this year two Christian leaders were killed and in November a cleric was treated in hospital after an acid attack. This is the first such assault on foreigners in the popular tourist destination.
A further announcement from the police in Zanzibar regarding the case is expected later today.