Zanzibar trends on social media after tourist alleges sexual assault in hotel
Tanzania, and Zanzibar in particular, found itself trending on social media at the weekend after a tourist took to social media alleging sexual assault at a hotel in the archipelago.
Zainab Oladehinde, a Nigerian, said she was sexually assaulted at Warere Beach Hotelin April last year.
The allegations were met with mixed views from Tanzanians and beyond and pushed the said hotel to poor ratings on Google just a few hours after Ms Oladehinde shared her “horrible experience”.
Ms Oladehinde took to Twitter on Saturday saying, “It’s high time I told my horrible experience in Zanzibar as a young solo female traveller. This incident happened a year ago in April of 2021 but I haven’t been able to talk about it cause I’ve been in therapy for a year to heal from the psychological trauma as this experience.”
She said she was almost raped by a stranger and she did not get justice when she made effort to report it to a police station.
According to her, she escaped because she lied to the man that she was HIV positive, a move that stopped the attacker from raping her.
There was no help from the hotel management that night until a morning after, Ms Oladehinde said, adding that she had to seek refuge from fellow visitors from Russia whom she met during the day at the hotel.
In an effort to nab the culprit, Oladehinde said she reported to the police at Nungwi Police Station but the complaint was dismissed after a medical report established that she was not raped.
“I got back to the police station and the policemen said they have no issue with the sexual assault since I wasn’t raped. That the only issue here was my stolen money,” she stated.
On Sunday morning, in a Facebook post, Warere Beach Hotel said the matter was reported to relevant authorities who classified the case as personal, and not the hotel’s negligence.
“It is true that we had Ms Zainab Oladehinde as our guest coming from Nigeria who arrived in April 2021. It is also true that she reported to our management that a male security personnel went to her room and attempted to have sexual intercourse with her,” the hotel said.
“We tried our best to support Ms Zainab Oladehinde as soon as we learned of the accusations. We immediately brought her to the police and offered her support.”
The hotel faulted Ms Oladehinde for declining to pursue the criminal case, saying she instead demanded “cash payments of $10,000 for damages from Warere.”
Zanzibar Commission for Tourism confirmed said it had opened an immediate investigation into the “regrettable incident”.
“The commission takes these allegations very seriously. An immediate investigation has commenced and we will report of its findings,” the statement says.
Hafsa Mbamba, executive secretary of the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism, said, “It is a regrettable incident we are following closely.”
In response to the claims on social media, some Tanzanians alleged the incident is a planned mission to tarnish the country’s tourism even as President Samia Suluhu is in the US for the launch of Royal Tour, a documentary mean to help market Tanzania’s tourism.
Ms Oladehinde’s allegations have ignited more debate on social media on the dangers of solo travel, particularly for women.