Zanzibar Attack Victim Says She Didn’t Know Assailants
Zanzibar acid attack victim Kirstie Trup, 18, said she had never met the assailants who attacked her and fellow traveler Katie Gee from a moped, dousing the pair with flesh-eating battery acid, in the African island last month, the UK Daily Mail reported, citing an interview Trup gave to the Sunday Times.
In the exclusive interview, Trup, who is Jewish, responded to reports that she and Gee knew the attackers, that the attack was in response to seductive behavior and that the pair were dressed in a fashion deemed insensitive to the island’s Muslim community, all of which she denied.
Trup said she initially thought she had been doused with water, but the battery acid seared her skin, on her arms and face, while onlookers, including a military official ignored the pair’s pleas for help.
“The burning sensation only intensified,” she told the Sunday Times. “From then on chaos took over. Katie, still screaming, ran off while continuing to remove her clothes. I fell to the ground yelling and scratching my face in pain and pulled at my hair in the hope of getting some help. Locals, men and women, some in religious Islamic clothing, were slack jawed as they watched me writhe on the ground in pain. I caught the eye of a military officer, who was among those gathered, but he just stared at me without offering to assist. Dressed in a red beret and military uniform, the soldier seemed indifferent to my cry for help.”
Trup said that two men on a moped drove by them slowly, before the passenger “pulled up a jerry can from his right side, which until that point remained out of view. He violently swung it in our direction, dousing Katie and me with what we thought was water but would later discover was car battery acid. Our instinctive reaction was to jump to our left but by that time the right sides of our bodies from head to toe were soaked in the clear liquid. Within a second of the moped speeding off, with its tail light still in sight, we began screaming.We felt our flesh being seared. Our screams were so loud they could be heard by revelers at the Africa House hotel several minutes walk away. My entire upper body was burning, especially my right shoulder and torso. So were my feet my face and my eyes.”
Three local men eventually came to her aid, bringing her to the nearby ocean, while Gee, who had reached a public toilet, was hosed down by two vacationers. The pair, wearing trousers and T-shirts nearly disintegrated by the battery acid, were taken to the local hospital by taxi. After being interviewed by police, they were taken to the Aga Khan Hospital, on mainland Tanzania, where they were visited by President Jakaya Kikwete, before being flown for further hospital treatment in the UK at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Trup has completed skin grafts on her arm, back and shoulder, and has been told that the scars, including those on her face, should heal.
Trup, who is planning on attending Bristol University, plans to return to Zanzibar.
She told the Sunday Times: “With each day that passes I reflect on my time in Zanzibar with Katie and the fun we had. We laughed, sang and enjoyed every moment all within the confines of what was religiously acceptable on the island. There we were, two 18-year-old Jewish girls from north London hoping to make a difference in the world while enjoying the life we’d been given. Such happy memories have convinced me to return to the island next year to do some more voluntary work.”
Trup sold her account to the newspaper and will donate the proceeds to the Friends of Zanzibar Women’s Sober House, the drug treatment center where the pair had been volunteering when they were attacked.