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Tanzania's Zanzibar president launches special police unit for protection of tourists

Dar es Salaam, Nov 20 (IANS) Tanzania's Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi on Friday launched a special police unit for protecting tourists visiting the Islands.

Eugene Emmanuel, the assistant commissioner of police, said the newly-launched special police unit comprised of 150 officers.

Speaking after the launch of the police unit, President Mwinyi said the new special police unit was intended to guarantee protection and security of visitors in the Zanzibar archipelago, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Police officials assigned to the new unit should work professionally and earn trust from the visitors and make Zanzibar a peaceful destination," said Mwinyi, stressing the government is determined to ensure tourists who visit Zanzibar are secure and serve as goodwill ambassadors of the Islands' tourist attractions.

While saying some countries have already lost tourists due to security uncertainties in addition to other factors, including political unrest, civil wars and outbreak of epidemics, Mwinyi urged Zanzibaris to participate in protecting visitors, warning that criminal acts and deterioration of security were among key factors behind declining tourism sector.

Zanzibar is Tanzania's semi-autonomous archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Tourism is Zanzibar's largest economic sector and essential for local socioeconomic stability.