March 8, 2005

Political party clash leaves 14 injured

Fourteen people were wounded, two of them seriously, in clashes between rival political parties on Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, police said. The fighting came as the nation prepares for general elections, scheduled for October. Zanzibar's senior assistant commissioner of police, Ramadhani Kinyogo, also said that three vehicles were destroyed and three opposition party offices set ablaze when members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM - Revolutionary Party) battled those from the Civic United Front (CUF). According to witnesses, the fighting occurred during two rallies held at different venues on Sunday, after which, CCM and CUF supporters hurled stones and knives at each other. "No one has been arrested in connection with the incidents," Kinyogo said. He furthermore blamed political leaders for the violence. "I appeal to political leaders, ahead of general elections, to tell their supporters to abide by the law of the land, so that we can ensure the forthcoming elections are held peacefully," he added. (The East African, Nairobi)

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