In a harrowing incident that highlights the importance of safety while cabbing, Ciku Muiruri’s daughter, Erica Gachoka, and her friend, Shanice Agose, were abducted after taking a taxi home in Nairobi’s Westlands area about a week ago.
However, after seven agonizing days, a dramatic police operation led to their rescue from a house in Mangu, Weiteithie area off Thika Highway. This incident serves as a wake-up call for everyone to prioritize their safety while using cab services.
Here are some essential tips to ensure a secure cabbing experience;
Choose reputable cab services
When hailing a cab, opt for well-known and reputable cab services. Look for licensed operators with good customer reviews. This reduces the risk of encountering unscrupulous drivers or unauthorized vehicles.
Share your trip details
Inform a trusted friend or family member about your trip details, including the cab company’s name, driver’s name, and estimated time of arrival. You can also use ride-sharing apps that allow you to share your ride with selected contacts in real time.
Verify the driver and vehicle
Before entering the cab, verify that the driver matches the details provided by the cab company. Ensure the vehicle’s license plate number, model, and colour match the information you received. If anything seems suspicious, refrain from getting into the cab and consider alternative options.
Trust your instincts
If you feel uneasy or uncomfortable with the driver or the situation, trust your instincts and prioritize your safety. It’s better to wait for another cab or seek assistance from a nearby establishment or security personnel.
Stay vigilant during the ride
While in the cab, remain vigilant of your surroundings. Avoid sharing personal information or engaging in conversations that could compromise your security. If you notice any alarming behaviour or deviations from the planned route, consider alerting someone immediately.
Keep emergency contacts handy
Ensure you have emergency contact numbers saved on your phone and accessible in case of an emergency. This includes local law enforcement, a cab company helpline, and trusted contacts who can assist you if needed.
Utilize technology for safety features
Take advantage of safety features provided by cab-hailing apps. These may include options to share your trip status, emergency SOS buttons, or real-time tracking features. Familiarize yourself with these tools and use them to enhance your safety.
Fortunately, on Sunday the two were rescued in a dramatic police operation after a week-long stay with their abductors.
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What We Know About the Kidnapping Incident
The two friends were rescued from a house in Mangu, Weiteithie area off Thika Highway in Thika, police said.
Two suspects have been arrested in Weiteithie in relation to their abduction and are now in custody.
The suspects were arrested after one was found with Erica’s identity card around the Ngoingwa area.
The suspects later led police to the Mangu area where they had leased a single room where the women were kept, about 10 kilometres away.
The women looked emaciated when police and other agencies came to their rescue.
Inside the house, they found fake number plates, a mattress without a bed, a plastic seat, two 20-litre jerry cans, a bucket, cello tape, a rope, a candle, a hammer and a knife.
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They blackmailed us to get our daughters back.
During their abduction, there were demands of a ransom of Ksh 500,000 – Ksh250,000 for each of the two by those behind the drama.
A message was earlier sent to Muiruri’s brother demanding a ransom of Ksh 250,000 be sent to her by close of business.
“Please I was kidnapped last 9te by some Somali and am almost headed to Somalia if Ksh 250k is not sent by cob tomorrow. Please help,” read part of the message which has been shared with authorities.
Multi-agency teams were deployed and monitored the movements of the kidnappers with the victims for the past week.
They were kept in the Mangu area. They kept switching off and on their mobile phones even as they made the demands.
The harrowing abduction of Erica Gachoka and Shanice Agose serves as a stark reminder of the importance of prioritizing personal safety while using cab services. By following these essential tips, such incidents can be minimized, and individuals can ensure a secure cabbing experience.
Always remember to choose reputable cab services, share trip details with trusted contacts, verify drivers and vehicles, trust your instincts, stay vigilant, keep emergency contacts handy, and utilize technology for safety features. Your safety should never be compromised, and taking these precautions will help safeguard your well-being during every cab ride.