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What Nairobi matatu operators are doing to keep carjackers at bay

By Sophiah Muthoni | Dec 4th 2013 | 2 min read

By Sophiah Muthoni

Nairobi, Kenya: Matatu operators in Nairobi have devised ways to keep carjackers at bay.

This is in the wake of the rising cases of matatu carjacking in Nairobi. At least one case is reported daily in the media.

In a recent piece published by The Standard newspaper, a passenger was shot dead along Mombasa road when the matatu he was travelling in was carjacked.

In the same piece, it was reported that two thugs were shot dead in a botched carjacking in Buruburu area.

In most reported cases where a matatu has been carjacked, the thugs are said to have robbed passengers of their money and valuables such as mobile phones at gun point.

This has been the trend for quite a while now and according to Gerald Mwangi, a driver along Ngong Road, they have learnt the tricks used by the thugs to gain access into matatus.

He told The Counties that they have put in place measures to curb the vice. He said: “We are now ensuring that any passenger is searched before they get on board. We have a lady who checks women’s handbags as well.”

He said matatu operators have noticed a pattern with the carjacking cases. He says: “We realised the thugs often board matatus along the way because then there is no one to check them. Now we do not pick passengers along the way especially in the evening.”

Paul Maina, another driver along Langata Road shares similar sentiments. He says when it gets to a particular time in the evening, he does not pick passengers after he has left the Central Business District.

He pointed out: “When it gets to around 7pm we try not pick passengers along the way because this is the opportunity carjackers wait for. In most cases carjackers are either in a group of four or three. One of the thugs sits in front with the driver, another one by the door and another one at the back.”

Another driver, Kariuki Mwangi along Jogoo Road and a victim of a carjacking, said the carjackers are young people.

 “The people engaged in the vice in my opinion could be between 18 to 25 years. Usually they have nothing to lose so it is advisable to just cooperate,” he explains.

According to Nairobi Deputy Head of Police Moses Ombati, members of the public have been instrumental in helping the police arrest some of the culprits.

“Members of the public have been helpful and we urge them to continue. We have been able to arrest quite a number of the thugs,” he says.

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