A Nigerian woman has alleged that she was sexually assaulted in a hotel in Zanzibar by a hotel employee who broke into her room.
The woman, Zainab Oladehinde, narrated her claims in a Twitter thread which has been shared widely on social media.
According to Zainab, she went to Zanzibar last year to celebrate her 23rd birthday.
She checked into Warere Beach Hotel and at around 2AM on 16 April, her birthday, she felt a man touching her as she was sleeping in her room.
Zainab said the man attempted to rape her and was strangling her.
“I was crying profusely now and needed to find a quick way to distract him so I started begging him not to rape me but he didn’t understand English as he kept on speaking Swahili to me. I then lied to him that I have HIV and he’d need to get a condom before sleeping with me.
“He didn’t understand a word I said but immediately he heard HIV, he paused for a while. I quickly wanted to use the opportunity to run but then he started strangling my neck. I became very scared for my life as I saw my life flash right before me in an instant
“So I continued begging him and telling him I’d allow him have sex with me but he’d need to go get a condom so as not to get HIV. I saw that he reacted to the word “HIV” so I kept on saying HIV whilst crying profusely at this point.
“As I struggled to not let him strangle me, he left the room and told me he’d be back with a condom. Immediately he left, I switched on the light, tried to call hotel reception but to my surprise, there was no intercom or phone lines to reach the hotel reception,” Zainab wrote in a series of tweets.
She added that once the man had left, she sneaked out, barefoot, tiptoeing so as not to be noticed. She sought refuge in a room belonging to a Russian couple she had met earlier.
The next morning, she went back to her room and discovered that the intruder had stolen her money amounting to $1000.
Eventually, she reported the attempted rape and theft of her money to a police station. A medical test conducted at a hospital she was taken to revealed that there was no penetration.
At this point, the Police dismissed the issue of sexual assault and said they would only investigate the issue of theft. The officers also allegedly demanded that she leave the police.
“The police men at the Nungwi police station in Zanzibar kept on bullying and harassing me. Told me to leave their police station that I wasn’t raped and they had confirmed there was no penetration from the nurses,” she said.
Zainab added that a security officer and kitchen staff, after being interrogated, admitted that they plotted the break-in. However, the Zainab said the owner of the hotel insisted it was a personal case and none of his concern as the security man wasn’t a direct staff of the hotel.
With the help of Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association, her case was later taken up by authorities. Zainab left Zanzibar on 5 May.
“I left Tanzania a broken woman. The security man and the kitchen staff still walk freely, the hotel kept operating their business as usual but I became a shadow of myself. I’m still in therapy as I still suffer from the PTSD of that incident,” said Zainab
Following her revelations, Warere Beach Hotel released a statement saying the matter was reported to relevant authorities who classified the case as personal, and not the hotel’s negligence.
“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,” Warere Hotel posted on Facebook.
However, the Commission for Tourism Zanzibar in a statement shared through Visit Tanzania’s official Twitter page has expressed its disappointment over the incident and has said it has taken the allegations seriously.
In the statement, Hafsa Mbaba, said investigations into the allegations had commenced and findings will be reported.