I was hoping I’d got to the end of the recent spate of lawlessness when the laptop that was sneak-theived from our 8th floor office was recovered after the thief got scared and dumped it in the mens loo two floors down the stairs. Probably worried he would get beaten to the ground floor by pursuers in the lift, arrested or possibly worse. However, that evening I’m driving home, waiting in a queue at the traffic lights at a major intersection, when an oldish white saloon car came past me in the right turn filter lane, and stopped alongside a smart silver new-looking 4wd Rav4. Three guys jump out and attack the Rav, surrounding it, trying to get in, shouting and intimidating the driver, then I see the flash and hear the explosion, cant work out if its gunfire, then another, sounds almost too loud and too bright for gunfire, maybe it’s dynamite or a really big firework. Can’t workout if they are shooting, or trying to blow the locked door open, or just intimidate the driver into submission. Everyone around is beeping their horns to get the cars in front to run the red light and get the hell out of there. The cars scatter. I’ve no idea whether its green or not but I stamp on the gas and cross two lanes to turn left – just trying to get as far away as quickly as possible, my heart pounding. I see the Rav speeding off, and the would-be car jackers scrambling to get back into their car and get away / give chase.
Now I realise why cars rarely stop at red traffic late lights at night in Dar, but rather keep going, albeit tentatively, beeping to warn cross traffic as they go. It seemed like a crazy risk to take but now I understand its maybe the lesser of two evils. Risk a car crash or a car jacking? Hmmm – not sure.