A Tanzanian priest is recovering after a Christmas Day attack by unknown gunmen on the island of Zanzibar.

According to Fides News Agency, Fr. Ambrose Mkenda was returning to his parish in Tomondo after celebrating Mass in another local Church when he realized he was being followed by  two men on a motorcycle. As he was exiting his vehicle, Fr. Mkenda was struck by two gunshot wounds to his cheek and back. The gunmen then entered and ransacked the rectory.

After receiving emergency care in nearby hospital, Fr. Mkenda was transferred to a healthcare facility in Dar Es Salaam where underwent surgery to extract the bullets still embedded in his body. The president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, visited the priest sometime after his operation.

Citing local sources, Fides News Agency reported that Fr. Mkeda was the victim of an act of common crime and not an action by extremist elements. In recent months, there have been sectarian tensions that resulted in the ransacking of some churches of Christian denominations.