Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Crime Intelligence-CI has launched an operation to trace thugs using women in taxis to rob unsuspecting passengers along the Northern bypass. The operation stems from numerous complaints filed by victims about criminals conspiring with taxi drivers and conductors to rob them.
A police officer at Kalerwe police post, who was part of the team that responded to two incidents in the last two weeks says that the thugs mostly target helpless women who board taxis late at night. He says that in one of the incidents, they rescued Jolly Kyoshaba, a resident of Bwaise in Kawempe division on Saturday night.
According to the officer, Katushabe boarded a taxi plying the Busega-Namboole route, and was robbed at the Bwaise flyover at around 11:00pm last week. In her statement to police, Katushabe explains that the taxi was full of women who gave her confidence that she was in safe hands.
“Soon after boarding the taxi, I was attacked by the thugs, they robbed me of all property before throwing me out of the taxi. All other passengers in the taxi who were women never bothered to intervene as the crime went on.” Kyoshaba told the police officers who came to her rescue.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says that Katushabe’s attack is among many other incidents they have been registering along sections of Busega, Namungoona, Bwaise, Kalerwe, and Kyebando, up to Namboole, where unsuspecting passengers board taxis with criminals, who turn against them along the way.
“Criminals disguise as passengers, now what is interesting is that among those criminals include women, the victims are being attacked and in many cases they force victims to surrender all their belongings, such as mobile phones, ATM cards, and they ask you to reveal your pin numbers, then withdraw the money,” Enanga said.
According to Enanga, after robbing their victims, the thugs don’t stop for the victim to disembark but rather they open the door and push them out.
Shafic Tela, the chairman of Bwaise taxi stage in Kawempe division told URN that they are also aware of the criminals masquerading as taxi drivers and conductors.
Police say the thugs use fake number plates to avoid being tracked easily by security with the help of security cameras. “They are using fake numbers plates because they know that our CCTV cameras are able to trace them. So they get plates and paste fake number plates with stickers, so people board the taxis thinking it is genuine. This is where those taxi gangs have reached,” Enanga noted.