World Bulletin/News Desk
Muslim protesters clashed with police in Tanzania's commercial capital and on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar on Friday.
In Dar es Salaam, protests against the arrest of a Muslim cleric turned violent, while in Zanzibar, supporters of an Islamist group have repeatedly fought police over the disappearance of their spiritual leader, who was then released after nearly four days in captivity.
In Zanzibar, a predominantly Muslim island, supporters of the Islamic Uamsho (Awakening) movement protested for the third day.
Uamsho followers, mostly youths and urban poor, clashed with police after Friday prayers, hurling rocks at police who retaliated with tear gas in sporadic exchanges around the main historic area of Stone Town.
Roads were temporarily closed, with rocks and coconuts strewn across the asphalt, and most businesses shut for the day. Riot police were stationed around mosques around Stone Town.
Fighting erupted on Wednesday, a day after the group's leader Sheikh Farid Hadi disappeared in unknown circumstances.
But late on Friday evening, the popular cleric was released, with shouts of "Allah Akbar" heard rising above Stone Town's maze of narrow alleys which separate Arab-style white coral stone houses.
"He is free. I had my picture taken with him," Thabit Juma, an eyewitness, told Reuters.
One Uamsho member who did not wish to be named confirmed Hadi has been freed, though he would not comment on who was responsible for his disappearance.
Earlier in the day another influential Uamsho cleric Sheikh Azzan Hamdan said the police were not doing enough to search for Hadi and set a deadline, 4 p.m. (1300GMT) on Saturday, for Hadi's safe return.
In Dar es Salaam, protesters left the Mtambani mosque after Friday prayers and marched towards the town centre chanting demands for the release of Muslim cleric Sheikh Issa Ponda.
"Police came in and started firing tear gas, while Muslim protesters responded by throwing stones," witness Salum Haji told Reuters. In the city centre streets were deserted in anticipation of further violence.
"All shops are closed in the city centre and there are heavily armed policemen patrolling the streets. We are all locked inside (a shop). I don't know how I'm going to get home," resident Neema Swai told Reuters.
Dar es Salaam's regional police commander, Suleiman Kova, said Ponda had been arrested on Tuesday for criminal trespass on private property and inciting followers to commit violence.
Ponda is the secretary general of the Council of Islamic Organisation, a group that vies for influence against the government-backed National Muslims Council of Tanzania.
Though Ponda is not known to have any links to Uamsho, the protesters also demonstrated against Hadi's disappearance.
With more than 2.5 million refugees displaced in north Eastern Nigeria, more than 9 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid
Company sees best-ever share price on day of quarterly earnings report
FARC rebels last month signed a peace deal which will by monitored by the UN
Departing president passes the baton to Hillary Clinton as his heir at the Democratic convention
Human Rights Watch has released its children in detention report, detailing the abuse that children suffer for alleged association in conflict related offenses
Turkey's former EU minister says US has history of supporting coup plotters in the country
Donald Trump has dared Russia into revealing the emails provoking outrage from the Democrat party
Red Cross says six schools suffered fire damage in arson attacks this week alone
Niger Delta Avengers threaten to further hit oil output
Turkish foreign ministry voices solidarity, cooperation with France against terrorism
Veteran of struggle for democracy says West should not protect 'dark forces' behind Turkish coup bid
Understanding the situation in Turkey is critical before a decision is made on the soldiers’ fate, says one of their lawyers
Experts tell Anadolu Agency US applies double-standards on extraditions, citing case of former al-Qaeda leader for 9/11
World expresses solidarity with Somalia after twin suicide attack