Criminal Using Taxis to Rob Passengers Especially Women

The Ugandan police have announced that they continue to receive complaints about criminals who conspire with rogue taxi drivers and conductors to rob innocent passengers of their valuables like cash, mobile phones, jewellery, ATM cards and so on.

 “The taxis gangs, have been identified along sections that feed into the Kampala Northern bypass, from Busega to Namboole. Unsuspecting passengers board the taxis, after seeing other occupants in the taxi yet these are criminals disguised as passengers. The victims are attacked as the taxi starts moving and force to surrender their cash, mobile phones, ATM cards, reveal their pin code numbers and other valuables,” says Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga.

Enanga added: “The danger with this criminal behaviour is that after robbing the victim, they push, throw or bundle them out of the moving taxi, onto the tarmac or side of the road. We do strongly condemn these acts of impunity by taxi gangs.

The joint task teams from Kampala Metropolitan Police, are already gathering intelligence and good clues about these criminals, taxi gangs, that are hiring female accomplices to disguise as passengers and also using fake number plates that they remove after every mission.

“As the operations continue, we wish to give a few safety tips to passengers especially women, as they plan their travel using taxi. Remember victims have been raped, robbed, and seriously injured after boarding taxis operated by taxi gangs,”.

The police advise the public to take the following precautions:

·    Always check the number plates if they are well fixed and appear genuine. Ensure you board your taxis from a gazetted stage.

·    Observe if the driver has a genuine badge, which is well displayed with names and stage. 

·    Avoid sitting in the back seat. At least get a seat where you are visible near the door or window. For instance, sitting in the middle puts you in danger, since you cannot cry for help.

·    Keep expensive items hidden in your bag, especially smart phone. Then keep your purse so close to you, preferably between your feet or chest.

·    Never take a taxi alone, since it may be hard to defend yourself from the taxi gang already inside the taxi. At least board from a gazetted stage with other passengers.\

·    Always have emergency numbers to call especially if the taxi is heading in the wrong direction. Be courageous and make an alarm calling for help at the window.

The police say all their Territorial Commanders continue to engage with stake holders in the taxi industry to address the concern.

“Many taxi drivers are helpful and are sources of information about current events, best restaurants, safe and unsafe neighbourhoods, entertainment places or destination,” Enanga said.

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