Church building demolished in Zanzibar

ZANZIBAR, c — A congregation of about 100 members on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar in Tanzania has been without a place to worship in 2018 after local authorities demolished its church building, the pastor said.

Local government officials gave no prior warning to the leaders of Zanzibar Pentecostal Church of Jesus before a bulldozer arrived Jan. 7 and razed the building to make way for a state university, Pastor Charles Madama said.

The local government on the 99-percent Muslim island had allocated the land to the church 20 years ago, but the State University of Zanzibar has been slowly encroaching on the church property, he said. Officials allowed the university, founded after the church began using the land, to put up a structure next to the church building a few years ago, and university management worked with the local officials to get the Christian site demolished, Madama said. (MS)