Victims say thugs are armed with knives
Watch out while in town. Ruthless muggers purporting to be PSV touts are back to business in the CBD.
Some touts working for reputable PSV firms are part of the gangs terrorising travellers.
Pedestrians and shoppers leaving retail outlets are the main targets. They are robbed of luggage and cash.
Many of the criminals are armed with knives, victims say. They pretend to be touting for passengers.
Previously, the robbers concentrated on PSV termini but now they are all over the City Centre.
Would be victims are approached by an individual asking for the target’s destination before others join in purporting to offer better options for the traveller.
Gerald Okoth was accosted by six men along Haile Selassie Avenue after alighting from a South B matatu.
“They started by asking my destination as they usually do, mentioning – Kisii, Migori, Kilgoris – while another was mentioning Siaya, Homa Bay and Kisumu,” Okoth said.
“One of them grabbed my luggage while the another attempted to take my backpack as we walked towards Machakos country bus station, but I resisted. I was threatened with a knife and something looking like a pistol. That was when I knew I was being robbed. They took everything.”
Another victim Violet Mutindi said she was accosted near Naivas supermarket on Ronald Ngala street after shopping.
The muggers grabbed her luggage from the trolley claiming she was their customer travelling to Kajiado. They gave the troller man Sh50 to let go of Mutindi’s luggage.
“I had hired a trolley pusher to carry my luggage to the nearby Umonja stage but four men started pulling me towards the Kajiado stage at the junction of River Road and Ladhies Road at OTC, claiming their matatu needed only two passengers,” she said.
Stephen Wafula who says he has been robbed twice at Country Bus station said the problem exists because of laxity of county officials and police officers.
“If the county identified the buses relying on the touts to get passengers and withdrew their licenses, they would have dissociated themselves with the violent touts and police would be left dealing with robbers disguised as touts,” Wafula said.
Although numerous reports have been filed at Kamukunji police station, authorities continue to downplay the problem.
Nairobi security executive Tito Kilonzi said the county has not received any reports.
Kilonzi said there are rules on PSV transport management who pay revenue to the county.
He said persons attempting to scout for passengers illegally are arrested “and if you go to our general store you will find that place is full of these people who have contravened those regulations”.
Kilonzi said county law enforcement officers will deal with the issue and involve police where the problem is beyond them.
“Whoever came to Nairobi to look for a job and did not get one then decided to become a criminal, we are there for them. I can only send one message to them: their days are numbered. We will deal with them,” Kilonzi said.
“I’m going to share this with the OCPD [Central] and the OCS [Kamukunji], that we have wayward elements in the CBD who are extorting people and we are going to deal with them.”
But Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo has previously insisted that it is county government’s work to deal with touts.
“Nobody can finish everything 100 per cent. We will keep on arresting people who will continue committing violations,” he said.