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New Twist in the Nigerian Woman Saga as Police Shift Blame to the Assault Survivor

Police claim that it dismissed the case following the lack of cooperation from the victim of the sexual assault. 

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Dar es Salaam. Police in Zanzibar said Monday that the Nigerian lady who reported sexual assault while on vacation in the archipelago refused to cooperate with law enforcement officers in ensuring that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to book.

In a highly circulated Twitter thread on Saturday, Zainab Oladehinde recounted how she barely escaped rape at the Warere Beach Hotel  Zanzibar in April 2021. According to her, the would-be rapist got to her hotel room at Warere in the middle of the night despite having her hotel room locked.

In her explanation, Ms Oladehinde also mentioned that the suspects stole a total of $1,100 from her purse.

While making efforts to nab the culprit, Oladehinde said she reported to the police but the complaint was dismissed after a medical report established that there was no penetration. She also said the owner of the hotel put the blame on her and claimed that she was lying.

The hotel faulted the aggrieved client, Zainab, for declining to take the case further after pursuing numerous avenues in her quest for justice.

But the Mkoa wa Kaskazini police commander Martin Otieno told journalists on Monday that the reason why law enforcement officers failed to work on the case is the lack of cooperation from Ms Oladehinde and the complainant to demand compensation inappropriately.

“[Ms Oladehinde] wanted the police to help her make the hotel owner pay her $10,000, something that the police was not supposed to oversee,” Otieno said. “We informed Ms Zainab about it but she was reluctant to accept our advice. We even recommended that she file a civil lawsuit against the hotel while the police were investigating the primary case of assault but she declined to do so.”

Otieno added that a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in an attempt to bring the two suspects – twenty-one-year-old Ezekiel Petro Josef and twenty-three-year-old Mohamed Juma Khamis – but DPP had to drop the case given the insufficient evidence that supported it.

According to the police, this included Ms Oladehinde’s statement that she could only identify the person who assaulted her sexually by his smell.

Mr Otieno wondered why it took Ms Oladehinde a year before she recounted her experience in Zanzibar, going as far as accusing her of “[an attempt] to sabotage the Tanzania Police Force and the Zanzibar tourism sector.”

In her Twitter thread on Saturday, however, Ms Oladehinde clarified why she talked about the matter now while it took place a year ago, saying: “I haven’t been able to talk about it [because] I’ve been in therapy for a year to heal from the psychological trauma as this experience has been the most painful and traumatic experience I’ve ever faced in my entire life.”

It is not clear if Monday’s report by the police will have any impact on the investigation that Zanzibar’s Commission for Tourism promised it was going to launch into the matter.

In a statement, the body said it was “shocked and disappointed” by the incident, adding that it was taking the allegations “very seriously” and “immediate investigation” has been launched into the matter.

“We condemn any harm or threat to our visitors to the peaceful islands of Zanzibar,” said the statement signed by one Hafsa Mbaba.

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