Crime wave

24 03 2009

For the vast majority of the time I’ve spent in Tamale it has felt like a really safe place to be. Sadly this is no longer true. Since I got back after Christmas it seems that a gang of thieves have moved into Tamale and are targeting the white community. I’ve personally been robbed and been present during another attempted robbery. I’m also aware of at least 8 other robberies this year, one of which involved violence when the victim resisted. That compares with just my wallet going missing in the entire previous 14 months.

Tamale has a huge “voluntourist” population, with lots of young Dutch and Belgian women in their early twenties paying to work in orphanages “giving the babies the love they wouldn’t otherwise get”. Sadly someone has realised that they (and the other, older, volunteers and white staff) present a lucrative and easy mark. The thieves lurk near restaurants popular with the volunteers and sweep past them on a motorbike after they leave, grabbing any bags they may be carrying. Worryingly they seem to be changing their behaviour and may have started to abandon their motorbikes and simply resort to threats. An interesting feature of this is the disgust of the locals for the thieves, to the extent of the widespread call for their deaths. Sadly the beating to death of a captured thief before the police can arrive is an occasional feature of Ghanaian life so the crooks may be risking more than a jail sentence.

For anyone reading this in Tamale, most of the robberies seem to be happening round the Choggu/ Agric forest area, so near Swad, TICCS and the Mariam hotel. Personal I’m seriously considering avoiding those restaurants after dark.

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2 responses

25 03 2009
Anathema

That’s a pity, actually. The sense of not feeling safe is horrendous.

Good luck with that.

PS: The authorities are aware of that crime wave? Are they doing anything about it?.

See ya!!

4 07 2009
Tamale Tips « Tim in Tamale

[…] the whole Ghana is safe, especially the north. Saying that there is crime (it seems to come in waves). Violence is rare but robberies happen. The biggest danger is probably […]

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