Ibanda, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police in the Rwizi region has launched an operation against vehicles operating without taxi labels. The operation follows a reported increase in crimes committed by people disguising as taxi operators, some of which have resulted in the loss of life.
In one of the latest attacks, a woman from Ibanda district was killed by men who were travelling in a Wish motor vehicle which was disguised as a taxi. It is suspected that the occupants of the motor vehicle trailed her after withdrawing money from a SACCO and later dumped her body in Kakoba, Mbarara.
Last month, the acting NRM chairperson of Ntoroko district Jepherson Kabagambe Aheebwa was kidnapped by a group that also disguised as taxi operators, who also killed him and dumped his body in Ibanda district.
Rwizi Region Police Spokesperson Samson Kasasira says that initial investigations have shown that criminals are using unlabeled vehicles to kidnap, rob and kill people. He says that they have now started the operation to get all masqueraders who are putting peoples lives at risk. He says that the operation which will be extended to all the seven districts in the region to first weed out all vehicles that are not labelled with the required marks.
Kasasira says the operation will also extend to those taxi operators who operate from areas not gazetted for loading passengers.
Alone Kanyesigye, the Chairperson of Mbarara United Taxi Operators Cooperative Union says that the operation was long overdue, and also calls for stringent penalties for the masterminds.
James Kamanyire, a taxi driver faults passengers for ignoring taxis with marked labels and running after private cars, adding that car owners who have now started picking passengers for long journeys have also created a loophole for criminals to kidnap and kill people.
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