Thieves in Addis Abeba: violent ?
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jul 31, 2013 10:46 AM Last Post By: benoistp
Jul 10, 2013 2:22 AM
Jul 10, 2013 4:06 AM
Jul 10, 2013 4:16 AM
2I was the exact same as above. I did hear a couple of stories of people getting pick pocketed and one violent attack.
My opinion is to take the same pre-cautions as you would any other city in the world. No specific advice for Addis Ababa, except to avoid the rasta boys who are actually harmless, but just a bit annoying!
Jul 10, 2013 5:55 AM
Jul 10, 2013 6:05 AM
4Pickpocketing is a wide spread possibility everywhere in Addis NOT just Piazza or Markarto - just as likely in Bole.
Watch out for any distraction like a tray of chewing gum packets put in your chest....
Violent or gang attacks are VERY VERY RARE compared to other major world cities. I did meet one tourist who had been @attacked@ twice in 2 days by teenage boys BUT he fought them off...no weapons involved. Location - walking between lower Churchill area and Arat Kilo....daylight...
Jul 10, 2013 8:28 AM
Jul 10, 2013 5:48 PM
Jul 11, 2013 8:49 PM
7I agree with the advice of others to simply be street smart and aware of your surroundings. If you look like a foreigner, you will attract a lot of attention, which can be disconcerting at first, but most of it is harmless. Last time I visited, two members of my group did have a bad experience in Addis. They were walking on a crowded street (somewhere in between Churchill and the Sheraton), and a guy grabbed the arm of one of them, while a second guy tried to get his wallet out of his front pocket. Fortunately, the other person from my group was walking behind them and grabbed one of the would-be pickpockets. The two pickpockets fled without getting anything.
Honestly, I figure I'm much more likely to be violently attacked on the streets of my city in the US than I am in Addis. Enjoy your visit!
Jul 11, 2013 11:11 PM
During the day, on some main streets and places (Bole, Olympia, Churchill, …), you can meet “gangs” of three teenagers. It’s always the same tactic, they disturb you with chewing gum or softs to sell and the third one is trying to stole your wallet or something else.
It’s not common to Addis but sometimes they strike through clothes (front pockets of your shirt) to expel the wallet.
They try to do that with me at the end of Bole, past Olympia.
No knife, no gun but you are targeted (and not only faranjis)
Jul 12, 2013 9:38 AM
9Just a few days ago while I was walking along Churchill Avenue towards the visa extension and immigration office, three young boys did this well-known trick of grabbing my right arm, crying "father, father!!" while on my other side one of them had put a pile of old magazines against my body as he tried fishing my left pocket under these magazines. I wrenched my right hand violently off the kids' grab and kept on walking as fast as I often do, and the rats stopped following me.
The next day on Tewodros Square (almost the same spot as above) a bit older boy approached me with a miserable tray with just four packs of tissues, begging me to buy one. He put the tray against my body while at the same time a grown up young man came to my other side telling me how hungry he was. As I checked the tray side of my body I saw the young rat fishing my pocket, as empty as it was. I swiped his hand off my pocket and in an ugly manner wished him to h*ll (with a few other international words of genital vulgarity.) This seemed to stratle him and he backed off. The other, older rat who was still on my right hand side was definitely not a real beggar in need of food, just a distraction a**hole. He got one meal ticket.
Like other users above remind, those boys or adults who put anything against your body are always pickpockets: never keep anything in your open pockets and keep on walking and using your hands to shake invader hands off your pockets if need be. The honest kids who sell something on trays never put the tray against your body.
And when something happens on your one side, always check what is going on in your other side as the rats often work in pairs.
As for walking around Piazza on the active bar street either direction from Taitu Hotel, there are followers and bulls**tters who have nothing good to offer you: ignore them all. They tell you they are DJs with international contacts, they've worked at your hotel, they know a great bar, they know nice girls etc.etc, but it's all part of the attempted scam. Be firm, ignore, act confidently. It also happened to me that one of these loud monkeys joined my table that I was sharing with a good Ethiopian girl. Shaking them off from this kind of personal area takes some patience but being firm and only mildly polite seems to work.
The top trick these con people use to lure visitors into traps is to take advantage of the presumed politeness and sense of responsibility ("a friend in need...") valued by us faranjis. It is only rats who call you "friend" or follow you on the streets, applies universally.
Jul 21, 2013 2:49 AM
Jul 26, 2013 2:07 PM
11A bit of bad news, read on about PIAZZA:
It happened last night that a male foreigner was MUGGED here in Piazza on the same street that I've been walking along almost every night (late) on my own without having sensed any danger. I mean the street that includes all those cheapie hotels (Wegagen, National) and later on Taitu, plus loads of those small bars and drinking holes. On the sidestreet you find good budget hotels like Wutma and Baro. The problem (and one of the reasons for the mugging) is that the guy was really drunk and maybe the opportunistic (I hope) attackers took advantage of this. I'm not sure exactly which spot on the street the attack took place in.
Four guys put him on the ground and grabbed his throat painfully while others emptied his pockets. Fortunately the guy only had an unsignificant amount of money and two quite valueless rings stolen. Camera, credit cards, phone and the like were in the hotel. They then disappeared quickly and the guy was taken to the police post nearby (I think it's quite opposite Taitu hotel.)
The police managed to find one person thought to be one of the perpetrators, as one of the witnesses on the street claimed. The police beat this guy up violently at the station in front of the theft victim and it was said to be quite harsh a treatment. I hope he was indeed quilty.
The worrying thing is that this street in Piazza is reputed to be safe enough anytime of the day because there are people around all the time and the locals claim there is no risk of violent attack. It gets sleazy and seedy after dark for sure, with a few beggars and kids and plenty of street girls, but I haven't sensed any kind of nasty atmosphere of physical threat. Hopefully this was an isolated incident strongly connected to the blurred state of the victim. However, when I walk there in the night (it's never a long walk as the hotels are nearby), I definitely make sure I am not under the influence nor look like it.
Jul 30, 2013 4:25 PM
12Reminder to all travelers:
one trick pickpockets use is an unpleasant distraction as the guy first spits at you soiling your clothes, then approaches you apologizing while trying to start cleaning your clothes. Just tell him to stay away and keep walking. While "cleaning" you they would fish your pockets. This happened to me today at Piazza after dark. I convinced him to stay really far away from me. Don't get fooled. Good people are rare on these streets when sun sets.
Jul 31, 2013 10:46 AM
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