Passengers Fall Prey to Taxi Drivers

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Though only a few cases have been reported to the Namibian police so far, members of the public in the capital have been falling prey to ruthless taxi drivers who rob their passengers at gunpoint. Just recently, two young men in their mid-twenties were robbed near Game shopping centre. Though they declined to reveal their identities, the duo narrated their story to New Era, saying they boarded a taxi from Maerua Mall to Hochland Park at about 20h00. In the taxi, there were three men, including the taxi driver. According to the survivors, one of the three men in the cab told the taxi driver that he should be dropped off in the vicinity of Game store. Surprisingly, the taxi drove past Game into Dr Kulz street, and down the street, the car stopped and the trio pulled out guns. They demanded cell phones and other valuable items from the two young men. The victims were not only robbed of their mobile phones but were also stripped naked. “They took my new timberland boots, diesel jeans, fubu jacket and rolex wrist watch, as well as my silver neck chain and bracelet,” he narrated. In the wallet was N$1 200. After they took the valuables, the perpetrators knocked the two victims on their foreheads with guns, left them bleeding and off they drove. In another incident, a first-year student at the University of Namibia was last week robbed at gunpoint as well. The student, who was in town, boarded a taxi at Wernhil park on her way to Unam. In the taxi were the driver and a friend who pretended to be a passenger. Instead of going to the university, the taxi drove in the direction of Concordia college. The student was robbed of her mobile phone and N$2 500 which she had just withdrawn from the bank to pay her tuition fees. President of the Namibia Taxi and Bus Association (Nabta) Magnus Nangombe recommended that members of the public who make use of taxis should always check for the number plate and the make of the car, as this would help the police in their investigations should such cases be reported. He further advised the public to report such cases as soon as they happen. “We will take disciplinary measures against these culprits. They take advantage of young people and women,” warned the Nabta president. The safety aspect of passengers, be they taxi or bus users, is of concern to the association, so ways to tackle this problem must be found soon, he added. Meanwhile, Nangombe stated that there is need to implement stiffer laws especially against illegal taxi operators. “We are currently seeking ways to ensure that such culprits are brought to book,” assured Nangombe. For the time being, the Namibian police have also confirmed such incidents, though describing them as rare. Warrant-officer James Matengu yesterday told of a 29 year-old woman who was recently robbed by a taxi driver. According to Matengu, this woman boarded a taxi from Katutura to town. Reaching the Nampower station in the northern industrial area, the taxi driver and his friend pulled out a gun and demanded money. Unfortunately or fortunately, the passenger only had N$48 and was therefore pulled out of the taxi as the men drove away in the same direction.

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