Excerpted from Daily Mail – The teenage victims of the Zanzibar acid attack may have been targeted in a revenge attack by a spurned admirer, according to friends on the idyllic island.
Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18, were still in hospital in London last night after being flown back from Africa by air ambulance on Friday.
They had been walking to meet friends for dinner when two men on a passing moped splashed battery acid over them on Wednesday.
The burning caused severe injuries which are likely to need multiple operations. Both girls are expected to spend several more days at the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Friends in Zanzibar City, where the girls had been teaching, have said that the pair received unwanted attention from young men in the days before the attack.
The departure of a male friend earlier in the week had left them more vulnerable, they added.
The dormitories where Katie and Kirstie were staying with other voluntary workers were often surrounded by local teenage boys.
One nearby resident, named only as Abdul because of the fear of reprisals, said the young men were angered at being rebuffed.
He said: ‘There were a lot of girls staying in the house. Sometimes boys come over. They make so many comments to the girls. They want to go abroad. But the girls told them to go away.’
Katie and Kirstie, who are both from Jewish families in affluent Hampstead, north west London, are members of The Abstinence Club, a group of 100 London teenagers who promote celibacy as ‘the only reliable form of contraception’.
They also knew to dress appropriately for the mainly Muslim island’s cultural traditions, according to Katie’s mother Nicky Gee.
Surgeon Mohammed Jidawi, who treated the girls immediately after the attack, said Katie, who received the worse injuries, has burns to 80 per cent of her right arm and 50 per cent of her torso.
Medical student Olivia Moore, a friend of the girls, said she thought it had been a targeted attack.
She told Channel 4 from Zanzibar: ‘The two men were on a moped and they went past a group of tourists and then stopped for the girls.
‘The two men then looked at each other, they nodded, and then the man on the back of the bike smiled and threw acid on the girls. There was no incident that preceded the actual attack.’
Threats of acid attacks are not uncommon on the island. Tourists rebuffing touts offering cheap goods are often told: ‘For 500 shillings I can destroy your face.’
Members of both families spent the weekend with the girls. A hospital spokesman said: ‘They are still comfortable and in a stable condition. Doctors are continuing to assess treatment options.’
Kirstie’s father Marc Trup, a property investor, said both girls were ‘struggling to come to terms’ with their burns.