Uber driver attacked, taxi set ablaze in Kenyan capital

February 22, 2016 9:17 am
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The taxi driver told police he was attacked by four men who blocked the road and forced him out of the vehicle before setting it alight/COURTESY
The taxi driver told police he was attacked by four men who blocked the road and forced him out of the vehicle before setting it alight/COURTESY
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Police have launched a manhunt for a gang that attacked an Uber driver in Nairobi’s Kilimani area and set his vehicle ablaze, the latest in a series of incidents against the online cab operations.

The incident occurred on Kirichwa Road where the taxi driver had just dropped off a client.

The taxi driver told police he was attacked by four men who blocked the road and forced him out of the vehicle before setting it alight.

According to police, the driver sustained injuries and is currently admitted to hospital.

Nairobi Police Chief Japheth Koome condemned the incident saying police within the county were under firm instruction “to ruthlessly deal with anybody who does not respect the existence of anyone or destroy property belonging to another person.”

Though several attack incidences have occurred, he observed that there has never been an assault of this magnitude.

“We cannot allow this kind of nonsense,” a visibly angered Koome said.

To the attackers, the message was clear. “I will deal with you the same way I deal with robbers. That’s why we are there; to deal with such people.”

The orders, will serve both local taxi drivers and those operating under Uber.

“We cannot allow that to happen. These are criminals,” he said.

He complained that despite government efforts to address their grievances, the attackers have decided to break the law.

He revealed that the County Government intends to call for a meeting involving all stakeholders to address their issues.

“Life is precious…please respect the law and see another day ‘Hapana cheza na moto, utachomeka’ (Desist from playing with fire, it will burn you),” was his message to the attackers.

The recent attack comes even as a team formed by the Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho is currently mulling over the issues raised.

The committee’s report due this week will incorporate the drafting of laws to govern online taxi operations. Presently the County Government is in the process of deliberating the Nairobi County Taxi Cabs Bill (2015).

The American taxi service has lately been on the receiving end, not only in Kenya but also in other places like France where rival taxi drivers complain that the company has been undercutting them.

Uber has been hailed as convenient and affordable by some residents of Nairobi, but other taxi operators are opposed to the competition.

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