Gang behind Uber taxi attacks arrested

The six were arrested early Saturday morning at 2am while planning to stage another attack.

Saturday March 26 2016

Mobile tax-hailing app Uber.  Nairobi police on March 26, 2016 arrested a six-man gang suspected to be behind spate of attacks on Uber taxis in the capital. FILE PHOTO

Mobile tax-hailing app Uber. Nairobi police on March 26, 2016 arrested a six-man gang suspected to be behind spate of attacks on Uber taxis in the capital. FILE PHOTO  

By VINCENT ACHUKA
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A six-man gang suspected to be behind the spate of attacks targeting Uber taxis in Nairobi has been apprehended, confirms City police boss Japheth Koome.

The County commander says the six were arrested on Saturday at 2am while planning to stage another attack.

Security officers have been trailing the gang and suspect their attacks on Uber taxis are inspired by business rivalry.

“They knew we have been looking for them and have been trying to evade us but the arm of the law is long enough,” Mr Koome told Nation.

The police boss warned he will not allow violation of the law in the name of competition between taxi associations and Uber taxi application, whose entry in the country has disrupted the market.

“They are currently in our custody as we finalise investigations but we will be presenting them in court on Tuesday to answer to charges of arson, malicious damage and murder,” added the City police boss.

A taxi association has accused Uber of undercharging its customers in order to drive them out of the business.

PREVIOUS INCIDENCES

At least two cars belonging to Uber have been torched and its drivers beaten or threatened in the last one month after allegedly being lured by people posing as passengers.

On Wednesday morning, a Uber taxi driver was hired by a man at Yaya Centre in Nairobi who said he needed to pick up his girlfriend from Naivasha Road in Riruta.

On reaching Satellite, police said, he asked him to stop so that he could relieve himself but on doing so, four men emerged and set the car ablaze.

Last month, another car was torched in a similar manner after its driver dropped off a passenger on Kirichwa Road in Kilimani, Nairobi.

The Interior ministry is yet to make public a report prepared by a committee that was supposed to recommend how to solve the dispute between the two rival taxi groups.

CITY CRIME

In another incident, two gangsters were shot dead in Umoja, Nairobi, on Saturday morning after police acting on a tip-off found them robbing members of the public. A pistol and a machete were recovered from them.

“Two others managed to escape but they have been positively identified by the public as being behind a spate of robberies and we are trailing them,” said Mr Koome.

Still in Nairobi, police have recovered a Ceska pistol and 11 rounds of ammunition that had been dropped by gangsters who had been stopped by officers on patrol at Hunters in Kasarani on Saturday morning.

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