A string of small bombings on the island of Zanzibar has residents there fearing that the explosions could be related to last month’s disputed election and that more trouble could be coming. Early Sunday, a small homemade bomb exploded near Stone Town, a popular tourist destination known for its labyrinthine streets and teeming bazaars. On Saturday, two similar bombs went off. On Friday, an undetonated bomb was found with a cellphone. The police said there were no injuries from any of the explosives. Still, many residents and foreign embassies were concerned. Britain issued a travel advisory that read: “Violence could escalate quickly. If you’re in Zanzibar, avoid being out on the streets and avoid traveling into the center of Stone Town.”
In the 19th century, Stone Town was the bustling capital of an Indian Ocean empire that traded in spices, carvings, elephant tusks and slaves. Today, Zanzibar is a semiautonomous part of Tanzania and usually a friendly, relaxed place to visit.
But during election times, it can get tense. In 2001, dozens of people were killed in Zanzibar and on a neighboring island after a disputed election.
Last week, the chairman of the Zanzibar election commission abruptly canceled all results from local elections, held Oct. 25, which the leading opposition party said it had won.