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Gambia Police Detail Taxi Robbery Schemes

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Gambian Taxis (Not the ones used during the crime)

By Buba Gagigo 

In response to the rising number of taxi-related crimes, the Gambia Police Force held a press conference on Wednesday to shed light on the cunning methods criminals are using to target unsuspecting taxi passengers.

The primary goal of the conference was to inform the community and raise awareness about these new criminal tactics. Pateh Bah, the Regional Crime Officer for Kanifing Municipality, highlighted a concerning increase in thefts involving taxis.

Bah detailed an incident involving Bai Nyass Bah and his friends from Abuko, who arranged to hire a taxi from Abubakar Touray, the principal suspect. Touray, lacking a taxi himself, borrowed one from a friend for D10,000 for five days. Unaware of Touray’s intentions, Bai Nyass agreed to the contract. That evening, Bai Nyass and his friends were unaware that Touray had conspired with others to ambush them.

“The complainant Bai Nyass Bah and his friends from Abuko wanted a taxi to run their service for five days. They agreed with Abubakar Touray (the principal suspect) who does not have a taxi but has a friend who has a taxi. He went to that friend and his friend Lent him the vehicle and charged Bai Nyass D10,000 for five days. Bai Nyass not knowing what plans Mr Touray had for him, he went in for the contract. In the evening, he collected his friends and arranged with the taxi driver (Principal suspect),” Bah explained.

Bah elaborated that the group used the taxi until around 11 PM, unaware that Touray had conspired with accomplices who had hired another taxi to ambush them.

“As they made the arrangement, that team also, through the suspect Demba Jarju who also lent a vehicle from his friend from Faji Kunda also boarded that vehicle and went ahead of them and waited for them around Mile 7 road towards Radio Gambia. As if their vehicle had a breakdown, they parked in the middle of the road. Then communication was between Demba and Touray. As Touray and his passengers arrived, they stopped, as if pretending to be talking as drivers. Then those in Demba’s vehicle rushed into the other vehicle and sprayed them with pepper powder and pointed at them with a knife. And then robbed them of three mobile phones, a bag plus forty thousand Dalasis,” Bah explained.

Bah revealed that Abubakar Touray initially feigned ignorance and reported the incident to Bakau Police Station, prompting an immediate investigation. During the inquiry, Touray confessed to his involvement in the crime and helped apprehend all the suspects and recover some of the stolen items.

The briefing detailed how these criminals pose as legitimate taxi drivers, pick up passengers, and then deviate from the intended route to commit their crimes. Law enforcement authorities stressed the importance of vigilance and caution when using taxi services to reduce the risk of falling victim to such crimes. They advised the public to verify the legitimacy of taxi services, especially when traveling alone or late at night, and to share their travel plans with trusted individuals.

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