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Nairobi’s boda boda thieves

Boda Bodas have helped many of Kenya's unemployed to make ends meet but now some are using them to commit crimes(Photo/ictfire.com)
Boda Bodas bikes have helped many of Kenya’s unemployed to make ends meet but now some are using them to commit crimes (Photo/ictfire.com)

Nairobi has always had been prone to crime waves but the latest trend of robberies carried out by men on bikes popularly knows as boda bodas has everyone worried. The boda boda thieves appear to be particularly fond of robbing motorists and usually operate in groups of three with one staying on the bike as the other two – guns at the ready – rob their unsuspecting victims.

The brazenness of this new breed of two-wheel thugs can be seen from the fact that unlike thieves of old they are not afraid to pounce in broad daylight. The latest incident happened to a motorist outside Sameer Business Park, along mombasa road. Disturbingly, it’s the second such incident outside the building in as many weeks.

The attacks by the boda boda thieves, naturally, have elicited angry reactions from Kenyans.

With the police seemingly slow to act, some Nairobians, no doubt with tongue in cheek, have some interesting suggestions on how to stop the thieves or at least give them pause before attacking another motorist.

That’s not to say the police haven’t taken any action against the thugs. Two boda boda thieves were reportedly killed by police officers while trying to rob a motorist along Lusaka road.

The boda boda thieves problem is not a headache unique to Nairobi. Across the border in Uganda the menace is prevalent enough to have inspired a movie. Titled – you guessed it! – Boda Boda Thieves the movie tells the story of a young man trying to find his bike in the backstreets of Kampala after it was stolen by a gang who are now using it to steal.

Last year, Governor Nairobi Evans Kidero announced a ban on boda boda business between 6pm and 6am, but this call has not been yielded much neither has enforcement been strict. It is one way of restricting their business to hours that they can easily be identified and if thieves, be arrested easily. However, the Governor may need to be firm and demand actions from his officers.

About brain obara

Brian Obara is a lawyer and writer and the Nairobi County Editor for Kenya Monitor.


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  2. I have a solution for deterring and apprehending the culprits..It is a solution now under test but can work though will also depend on the Government’s cooperation. I will only request for assistance from the authorities to cooperate with them so that we can be able to capture the perpetrators before the menace grows further..It can now be felt everywhere including in rural areas..

    I will also seek your assistance to help me roll out the solution..I will do this at an appropriate time and believe that our cooperation can achieve a lot towards arresting this fast growing danger.

    Yours faithfully,

    James Mutunga

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