RAMPANT BODA BODA CRIMES

Motorbike gang attacks and robs Spring Valley residents

All stations ordered to form special units to crack down on the menace

In Summary
  • The gang on motorbikes attacked pedestrians and motorists before escaping.
  • Police say most crimes in the city are committed by motorbike riders and efforts to address the trend are ongoing.
Gang on motorbikes attacks pedestrians and motorists before escaping.
BODA BODA GANGS: Gang on motorbikes attacks pedestrians and motorists before escaping.
Image: THE STAR

Police are hunting for a motorbike gang that attacked and robbed at least six residents in Spring Valley area on Tuesday night.

The victims were robbed of cash and other valuables.

The gang attacked both pedestrians and motorists. In some cases, they blocked the road so cars could not pass.

Victims said they took their time as they moved from one site to the other, robbing them. The gang was acting calmly and was not in a hurry.

“It seems they knew there was no police patrol or immediate response,” one victim said.

The crimes were reported at the Spring Valley police station.

Police who arrived at the scene said most crimes in the city are committed by motorbike riders and efforts to address the trend are ongoing.

Security chiefs are launching a crackdown on motorcycles involved in crime following an increase in boda boda-related crimes.

All stations have been ordered to form special units to crack down on the menace.

Those operating beyond designated hours will be arrested as most attacks happen late in the evening or at night. 

In some instances, thugs on motorcycles attack during the daytime.

Nairobi police boss Augustine Nthumbi said they are ready to deal with the problem and urged industry players to help.

“Some of the stakeholders know who these thugs are and can help us clean the industry," he said.

The root causes of boda boda-related crimes include unemployment, poverty, drug and substance abuse, non-regulation of the sector, greed and the desire for quick money and weak law enforcement.

Others include peer pressure, illiteracy, criminal minds and tendencies, high cost of living, corruption, ease of access to firearms, hunger, uncoordinated boda boda Saccos, political incitement, non-sharing of information with security agencies and tribalism.

Research in 2018 established some riders are involved in serious crimes such as robbery with violence and have caused accidents that have left many people dead or maimed.

The 2018 research 'Fighting Crime,' was carried out by the National Crime Research Centre. 

In 2018, riders caused 3,877 deaths through dangerous riding, stole 3,774 times, breached public order and created public disturbance 3,328 times and stole motorcycles and motorcycle parts 3,227 times.

There were 2,778 cases of assault involving riders, 2,578 cases of robbery and robbery with violence and 1,884 cases of murder involving the riders.

A further 2,570 cases were recorded of riding under influence of alcohol, 2,415 cases of possession and usage of dangerous drugs, 2,053 cases of handling and trafficking of dangerous drugs.

The riders were also involved in 1,279 cases of kidnaping and abduction, 1,128 bribery cases, 868 defilement cases and 839 rapes.  

The research established there were 775 cases of smuggling of goods across the borders, 687 cases of theft of motor vehicle parts, 638 of fraud and forgery, 624 of handling stolen property and 554 of burglary.

The report said there were 506 cases of motorcycle hijacking involving the riders, 493 cases of tax evasions, 482 indecent assaults, 483 illegal possession and smuggling of firearms and weapons.

Police recorded 577 cases of malicious damage to property, 363 of cattle rustling, 198 cases of abortion, 203 of possession and smuggling of forest and wildlife products and 193 of handling contraband and counterfeit currency.

Riders were involved in 173 cases of carjacking, 148 of human trafficking, 99 of incest, 94 cases of poaching, 56 offences against tourists, 41 cases of  bestiality and 22 sodomy cases.

The research sought to address concerns around boda boda motorcycle transport and security challenges in Kenya.

Boda bodas are a very popular and entrenched means of transport .

“However with the rising popularity comes worrying concerns that the subsector is increasingly associated with crimes, traffic accidents and impunity with grave implications on public safety,” the 2018 research report read.

The research established most of those interviewed, 88 per cent, said operators commit crimes in their locality.

The report recommends the establishment of a database for all operators through mandatory registration, refresher training and testing and making the industry a formal sector.

It further wants authorities to implement the 2014 NTSA regulations, sensitise the operators, address unemployment and poverty in the country and empower police to gather intelligence.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)