WINDHOEK - A taxi driver narrowly escaped death when he was hit with a beer bottle while driving three hijackers who asked to be taken to Otjomuise’s 8ste Laan, according to the City Police.
Senior Superintendent of the City Police and Emergency Management Department, Gerry Shikesho, said two men, who were accompanied by a woman, stopped the taxi on Friday at around 02h00 at Katutura Pick ‘n Pay asking to be dropped in Otjomuise.
The two men climbed in the back, while the woman sat in front.
When the taxi driver, Phillipus Amutenya, better known as ‘Hammer’ approached the traffic circle from the Singles Quarters leading to Khomasdal, one of the men bashed his head with a beer bottle.
“He stopped and the guys pushed him out of the car. A fight ensued between the taxi driver and the two men. Although the taxi driver was seriously injured, he was so strong that he held one guy and the lady by their throats,” said Shikesho.
It is reported that the other man picked up stones and started pelting Amunyela to release his hold on his two accomplices.
“The taxi driver decided not let go of the two. Fortunately, a motorist passed by and saw the fight. He pulled out his firearm but he did not shoot. It is only then that the taxi driver dropped the two, who were weakened by his choking grip. The other guy ran away,” said Shikesho.
The passer-by motorist called the City Police who responded promptly and the two were taken into custody at the Katutura police station. The suspects were due to appear in court yesterday.
Seven hijackings and attempted hijackings were reported since January this year already, most of them targeting taxi drivers on trips to Otjomuise.
Recently 31-year-old Eliakim Kandali Inane’s charred body was found in the vicinity of Otjomuise. He was also operating a taxi.
Inane, who was a student at the International University of Management, was apparently driving the taxi of his cousin when unknown suspects attacked him and burned the Toyota Corolla with him inside.
“We want to believe it is the same syndicate where a taxi was hijacked in Rocky Crest when people asked to be dropped in Otjomuise. The trend started with school children hijacking taxis for partying. But now it has become very violent,” Shikesho said.
“We are very much worried. In most cases, a female customer always accompanies the men. The moment a person is looking for a hike after 24h00, it is already suspicious. Motorists must lock their doors at all times. People must not just stop to help anyone, but rather approach the nearest police and call us.
“Ladies accompanying hijackers will pour a reddish substance on their white dresses so that it looks as if it is blood. She will stop cars claiming she is stabbed and ask for help to be taken to a hospital. The moment you stop, the guys jump in,” he said.
Further, three men who also asked to be dropped off in Otjomuise allegedly hijacked a private motorist last week. It is alleged a person who pretended to be ‘new’ in town approached the driver for help.
While talking to him, two other men jumped into the car and forced the driver to drive to Otjomuise.
“Immediately when they got in the car, they covered their faces with masks. When they reached Otjomuise’s 8ste Laan, they pulled out a firearm and demanded cash from the driver. He overpowered them but they stabbed him three times in the back before they fled. They did not get anything from him,” Shikesho said.
No arrests have been made yet.