Nairobi: Residents raise concern over muggers targeting matatu passengers
Some residents of Nairobi have raised concern over the rising cases of muggings in public transport vehicles.
According to the residents and a few matatu operators who spoke to Wananchi Reporting, the muggers are mostly young men who often pose as genuine passengers.
The new wave comes just weeks after the National Police Service (NPS) listed the Drive-In flyover up along Thika road, Globe Cinema roundabout, KCA underpass, ABC Place, Kangemi along Waiyaki way and some areas in the Central Business District (CBD) as some of the crime hotspots.
With the police now focusing on these hotspot areas, it appears the thugs have changed tact, and are now targeting public service vehicles.
A few incidents have been reported along Ngong road, Valley road and Jogoo road.
According to residents who spoke to Wananchi Reporting, the muggings often happen quite discreetly.
Sometimes, in a few instances, only those being robbed get to know about it, but the rest of the passengers are often clueless.
University student Jacob Muthegi narrated to Wananchi Reporting how a group of thugs, around four men, mugged three women inside a bus headed towards Kawangware.
“The group boarded the bus at the Hurlingham stage, one of them sat at the back, one of them sat next to me,” said Muthegi.
The conductor who was collecting bus fare became suspicious when she saw one of the men mugging a woman in the back seat.
“The tout walked back to the front and sat next to the driver only occasionally throwing glances at the back,” said Muthegi.
The thugs disembarked from the vehicle just before Yaya Centre, and that’s when frightened passengers began to talk – including the conductor.
“The thieves no longer use violence, and instead will politely demand that passengers produce any valuables you have on you without raising alarm,” said Njeri Kamau who recently fell a victim.
She narrated how she was recently robbed inside a Matatu plying the Ngong route.
She said that a group of young men rose from their seats, and asked passengers to ‘donate all their valuables’.
“They promised not to harm us since we are good people. They were polite and very confident,” Ms. Kamau said.
According to Ms. Kamau, the gang made away with their mobile phones, wallets and other valuables.
One David Ochieng also shared his ordeal in the hands of the muggers along Jogoo Road, near Uchumi stage.
According to David, the thugs did not look suspicious; they were like any other passenger.
“The thugs politely asked us to cooperate since they didn’t want to harm anyone. They asked us how our day was and requested that we hand over our mobile phones, watches and wallets. They even requested we remove our SIM cards from our phones and retain them. They also returned our IDS and ATMs. They thanked us, and wished us a safe night before alighting from the vehicle and melting into the streets,” said Ochieng.
No one reported the matter to the police, according to Ochieng.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and Inspector General of Police, Japheth Koome have promised to beef up security in the city.
Meanwhile, Kenyans are advised to call the Nairobi Area Police County Control on 020 3556771 in case of an emergency.
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