Oct 23, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Fast and deadly: Inside Kenya-Uganda car theft syndicate

Although the Flying Squad and Interpol officers were quick to arrest the suspects, the dramatic heist showed just how willing auto-theft syndicates are willing to drive away with their trophies.

Last Friday, three people turned to a taxi driver in the town of Kakamega to go to Chemelil, Kisumu County.

It was well after 5pm and the driver , Ibrahim Omodo, 23, was not happy with the 100 km drive. But it was a bad day and the pay was good.

The potential customers, two men and one woman, had given him 10,000 Sh. for his services and 3,000 Sh. offered for fuel, which was too good a deal to refuse.

Omodo didn’t know the trio had an ulterior motive since he was last seen alive. A few days later, his body was found on a sugar cane farm in Tindiret, Nandi County.

The vehicle, a Toyota Prado, was later recovered in Tororo, Uganda. His hands and legs were tied with ropes and he had signs of facial injuries.

“I don’t know why they had to kill my brother in such a cruel way. If they just wanted the vehicle, they should have let my brother go. He was a young man, a bachelor, ”says Omodo’s older brother, Mr. Rashid Kombo, also a taxi driver.

The family is planning to get the body from the morgue after one Kapsabet Autopsy and burial according to Islamic rites in the village of Emusonga, Kakamega Central subdistrict.

Before Omodo left town, he had his employer, Mr. contacts Festus Olang ‘to inform him about the’ Chemelil trip ‘.

Phone switched off

But one day had passed without a word from him. He had not contacted his family or colleagues. His phone had also been turned off, raising concerns about his whereabouts.

As loved ones were considering their next move, Mr. Olang received a troubling call from a man who stumbled was on Omodo’s documents scattered along the street in the town of Kapsabet, including some checks.

Concerned about the safety of his employee, Mr. Olang ‘contacted the company that had a tracker in the city had installed cabin to determine its position. Terrifyingly, the vehicle was followed to Tororo.

Not Kapsabet; not Chemelil. He reported the matter to the Kakamega Police Station. “The vehicle was left in Tororo after the engine stalled. The criminals had tried to dismantle the tracking device, but they did not succeed, ”says Mr Olang ‘.

On Sunday he cleared paperwork with the Ugandan authorities in front of the vehicle be released. The incident is related to activities of a car theft syndicate in western Kenya that would kill if provoked the slightest. The criminal gang has recently targeted taxi drivers who use luxury vehicles.

Like President Kenyatta’s BMW in September 2014, the vehicles will become as soon as they cross the border , vandalized.

In the past two months, six vehicles have been stolen in the city of Kakamega, one of which was driven from a hotel parking lot.

Kakamega District Police Commander Hassan Barua says detectives are investigating Friday’s incident.

“When we saw the report of the alleged kidnapping of the driver received, we sent our police officers to investigate, ”says Barua.

Porous border

The suspects use panya- Routes along the porous border so as not to be discovered and the vehicles end up in workshops in Uganda, where they are dismantled for replacement parts a booming business, as many motorists in western Kenya get engines, transmissions and other parts of Uganda there because they are cheaper there. “Criminals pretend to be customers and usually target expensive and highly sought-after vehicles. Then they drive over the border, ”says Gilbert Alushula, a taxi driver in Kakamega. David Muange, police commander of Teso North Subdistrict, says the gang are using the porous border points at Machakus, Adongos and Buteba.

“Criminals use the porous border points to avoid detection “says Muange. You are familiar with the terrain and can easily dodge security guards. “There are patrols along the border, but these criminals slip through because they understand the geography quite well,” says Mr. Muange.

Sometimes they rent vehicles with forged documents and drive once the deal is sealed, across the border. A few years ago, Mr. Aluschula got into trouble when a customer used his vehicle in a robbery. “He was a regular customer, so I had no problems with him.

What I didn’t know was that he was using forged documents. He picked up the vehicle and brought it back after two to three days, ”he recalls.

Once the customer did not bring the vehicle back.

“After desperately trying to track him down, I was contacted by the police in Siaya, who told me that armed robbers driving my vehicle had been shot after they opened an M-Pesa branch Some weapons were found in the vehicle and I was treated as a suspect, “offers Mr. Aluschula.

He was later evacuated and the vehicle was given to him after an investigation revealed that it had nothing to do with the crime.

The kidnappings and robberies against taxi drivers and other motorists raised concerns about the insecurity creeping in the area.