Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tanzania: Greek Physician, 48, Killed in Snatch/Grab For Failing to Release Her Purse

Tragically, a visiting Greek physician, a woman, age 48, was walking along Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road in the center of Dar es Salaam with a number of her colleagues on Sunday (September 23), when she was targeted by purse snatchers traveling slowly in a vehicle who suddenly grabbed her purse.

Unfortunately, the victim refused to surrender her purse to the moving vehicle, hanging on to it as the assailant's vehicle gained speed and escaped from the scene with her purse. 

Sadly, the doctor was killed as a result of her injuries sustained during the snatch-and-grab and her unwillingness to give up her purse. Although her friends rushed her to Aga Khan Hospital in the capital, she expired as a result of internal bleeding.  

COMMENT: Our condolences and sympathies go out to the physician's family.

To make matters worse, the doctor was scheduled to return to Athens on Monday (September 24), having completed her medical mission to Dar es Salaam.

A recent double murder of a tourist in a tented camp just outside the Serengeti, where a camp manager was also killed, also rocked the local tourism community. 

As I have said numerous times in the past, there are NO safe countries.

Tourists and travelers in developing countries are urged to avoid carrying purses and tote bags and rather to carry small cameras and other necessary items in a small case attached to a belt, so as to not flag that they have items of value.

Additionally, pedestrians are urged to avoid walking along the curbside of pedestrian areas, where they may well be vulnerable to snatch-and-grab criminals traveling by motorbike and vehicles.

Alternatively, they should attempt to walk in the center of sidewalks to avoid criminals traveling in vehicles.

Most important, travelers are strongly urged NOT to resist efforts to  steal their valuables as no amount of property is worth YOUR LIFE. Property can be replaced, our life cannot be!

Travelers are also reminded NOT to carry credit cards or their passport in their purse, if they must use one, and carry only a small amount of cash. 

In terms of carrying one's passport, safeguard your passport in your hotel lobby safe deposit box and carry only a photocopy of your passport page as well as your entry stamp into the country.

It is prudent to carry an ATM card for withdrawing small amounts of cash as needed.

Sadly, had the good doctor simply relinquished her purse to her assailants, she would be home by now.