Tanzanian muggers "actually pretty sweet," say Tilburg students

Taxis in Tanzania (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Harvey Barrison)Taxis in Tanzania (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Harvey Barrison)

Two Dutch students had quite an anxious experience in the African country of Tanzania this weekend. They were mugged by five African men. "It was really a shock", according to Sheridan Flipse, but the muggers were "actually pretty sweet".

Sheridan Flipse and Jules Kuijpers traveled to Tanzania for Sheridan's graduation project - a documentary about life in Africa. Sheridan told Omroep Brabant about their experience in an interview on Skype.

On the second day of their trip they went to the beach in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam. "We had our cameras with us, we took many photographs and talked to the people. We really mixed with the people. We didn't want to be typical tourists." Sheridan said. That evening they took a taxi home.

The taxi driver drove into a secluded street and started chatting with four men, who got into the taxi. At first Sheridan wasn't worried, because picking people up along the way not unusual for taxis in Tanzania. At first the men were friendly, but they soon changed their tone. "Listen my friend", one man said to the students. "There are many bad people in Africa and now we are bad people."

The students were searched and their bags were inspected. The taxi drove them to an ATM and instructed them to draw money. They took hundreds of euros from the students' accounts and their cameras.

But it wasn't so bad, according to Sheridan. They were allowed to keep their passports. And the muggers gave them back the memory cards from their cameras, so they didn't lose their footage for the documentary. The muggers even gave them 20 euros for a taxi back to their hotel. "Actually, quite pretty sweet", Sheridan said to Omroep Brabant. "The whole robbery was like a movie."