Zanzibar’s Commission for Tourism has come out to respond to an explosive account of assault shared online by a Nigerian woman on her experience at a ritzy hotel on the island last year.
Zainab Oladehinde, through her Twitter account on Saturday, narrated her 23rd birthday celebration at Warere Beach Hotel in April 2021, where she had reportedly booked a 6-day stay.
“On the 15th of April 2021, I flew from Lagos, Nigeria to Zanzibar, Tanzania for my 23rd birthday and I was extremely excited about it,” wrote Oladehinde in a thread that has since gone viral.
“I had my reservations about going to a foreign country as a solo female traveller but none of my thoughts would have prepared me for what I eventually witnessed and experienced in Tanzania.”
She said that upon her arrival at the island on April 16, she checked into the hotel and rested after a long day, then spent the following day lounging at the establishment making new friends.
In the wee hours of April 18, however, Oladehinde said she was woken up by a stranger in her bed; an unknown man who had stripped himself naked.
“There was a naked man lying on my bed and touching me at 2am in my hotel room! He started calling me “baby” and then I became scared cause the room was dark as I had switched off the lights before I went to bed,” reads her tweets.
“Now, I was extremely scared. I asked the man ‘who are you?’ But all he kept saying was ‘baby, baby’. I asked in a louder tone this time around because I was getting angry and then he quickly stuffed his hands over my mouth in an attempt to stop me from shouting.”
The man, Oladehinde said, spoke Swahili – which she does not understand – throughout the encounter as he choked her, squeezing her throat while she struggled to resist.
The woman told the man that she was HIV positive to convince him to back off and get a condom first, to which he reportedly reacted by being scared. He reportedly left the room, giving her an opportunity to flee the room and seek help.
“Immediately he left, I switched on the light, and tried to call hotel reception but to my surprise, there was no intercom or phone lines to reach the hotel reception through the the room,” she added.
“I couldn’t stay back in the room and wait for the rapist to come back. Hell! Who knows what would happen to me this time around when he comes back to my room. Should I leave my room? I don’t know who or what is outside my hotel room either!
While avoiding the guards outside her room, Oladehinde said she eventually sought refuge at a nearby room belonging to a Russian couple she had met the previous day at the resort.
“I hoped their room wouldn’t be locked so in case I get noticed, I would be able to call for help before anything happens to me. Fortunately for me, the room was opened and I ran inside.”
“They woke up almost immediately and I told the guy, Alex, how I was strangled and almost got raped in my room. He advised that I stay in his room till we sort out the issue by day break. I called my friend to tell him I was in another room where I felt safe and he told me had called the hotel owner. This was around 4am in the morning.
On returning to her room in the morning, she found out that $1,100 had disappeared from where she had kept it.
The Nigerian tourist said she visited Nungwi police station to lodge a complaint, where she was asked to write a statement after a long period of questioning. She was then directed to a nearby hospital for medical examination.
As a result of the poor treatment she was subjected to by the police officers, the woman decided to take a photograph of the police station, to which a senior officer objected, demanding that she delete the photos to be allowed to leave to the hospital.
After refusing to give in, she said she was eventually let go.
I stood my ground and said I wouldn’t delete any picture. The police chief at the Nungwi police station then said he wouldn’t let them take me to the hospital for checkup if I don’t delete my pictures and videos
At the hospital, it was confirmed that Zainab was not raped. The medical officers that attended to her also said they could not ascertain if she was assaulted.
With this, the police officers dismissed her case and insisted that she was being dishonest. They also concluded that she was never assaulted at the hotel.
Warere Beach hotel has since closed off its comment section on Instagram while the hotel’s owner and manager, with whom she had corresponded before and around the incident, have also insisted that she lied about her experience.
Oladehinde added that she has spent the past year getting therapeutic help as a result of the ordeal.
In a statement issued Sunday, the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism regretted the alleged incident, saying it was handling the matter “very seriously.”
“An Immediate investigation has commenced and we will report of its findings. We condemn any harm or threat to our visitors to the peaceful islands of Zanzibar,” stated Hafsa Mbamba, the commission’s Executive Secretary.
He added: “We would like to inform our visitors that the Ministry abhors any ill treatment of any persons on the Isles as this is not the Zanzibari hospitality nor the treatment we want our visitors to receive.”