It was a horrific weekend for a group of travelers on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway as the bus they were traveling in (belonging to the Coast Bus company) was hijacked by armed gangsters at Kibwezi who shot dead the driver, robbed motorists and raped at least five female passengers.
According to witnesses, the gangsters boarded the coast bus at Mlolongo near Nairobi only to raise hell over 200 kilometers away in Kibwezi, which is notorious for highway robberies.
Police records released to the public show that two of the most wanted gangsters operate between Makindu and Kibwezi and it could not be surprising if they were involved in the weekend incident which has raised fresh concerns over the safety of traveling at night by bus to far flung destinations.
Over the years, Kenyans have considered bus travel as the safest mode of moving around besides air travel whose cost is prohibitive and beyond the reach of most Kenyans.
What happened on the expansive highway this last weekend, goes a long way to show what today's violent criminals are capable of. A bus carries at least seventy passengers and among them could be armed policemen in civilian clothes, a fact that the thugs know very well but are willing to take the risk.
And again, even five gangsters armed with guns can be overpowered by seventy people with minimum casualties as long as the assault by the passengers is well coordinated. The thugs also know this but are willing to take the risk for a few thousand shillings and the sickening pleasure they get from raping their victims.
Today's criminals are willing to take life-threatening risks for relatively small 'rewards' not forgetting that violent crime is a capital offence in Kenya punishable by death on conviction. Those who escape apprehension by law enforcers could end up being executed by police or worse still, the wrath of mob justice where members of public beat cornered suspects to death.
Kenyans have refused to face the reality of the crime situation and this is well depicted by the kind of solutions that all and sundry offer which includes increasing the number of heavily armed policemen on the streets to carrying out extra-judicial killings on notoriously known hardcore criminals.
However, the first step in stemming the increasing crime rate is to get teenagers and the youth busy especially those who have dropped out of school and calling on parents to closely monitor and care for their kids not to mention stressing on moral values and probity.
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