Zanzibar secessionist groups threaten tourism and hydrocarbons

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Abstract

Concerns for Zanzibar’s crucial tourist sector have been reignited by the threat posed by Islamist secessionists, following rioting and the arrest of 51 supporters of Muslim cleric Sheikh Farid Hadi on 18 October 2012. The unrest, the latest in a series of violent protests since May, could also undermine the archipelago’s fledgling oil and gas sector by complicating efforts by the oil industry to obtain exploration licences. Hadi leads the Uamsho movement, a banned radical Islamist group that campaigns for Zanzibari independence from mainland Tanzania. The roundup of his supporters followed two days of riots and looting in the commercial and tourist capital Stone Town, triggered by Hadi’s unexplained disappearance. Although Hadi was later released by police without charge, the mass arrests can be expected to heighten tensions across Zanzibar, with the potential for further street protests in the coming weeks and months.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThis is Africa (Financial Times)
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2012

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