[Updated with arrests] Kenyans on social media have taken to various platforms to express their anger after a video of a young woman being harassed by a crowd of Boda Boda riders went viral.
In the latest development, 16 suspects have been arrested and five motorcycles impounded in connection with the attack on the motorist.
“Operations continue as we appeal for more information from the public,” police say.
Of the attack, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said: “I am shocked and disgusted by a viral video clip of a female motorist being molested by suspected boda boda riders along Wangari Maathai /Forest Road. We must protect our roads from such vile and reprehensible acts of aggression.
“I have asked our security agents to ensure that all the perpetrators of this dastardly act are swiftly apprehended and suitably punished for their heinous act.”
Sources indicate that the young woman, driving a silver saloon car, was allegedly involved in an accident with one of the Boda Boda riders on Wangari Maathai Road (former Forest Road) prompting the outrage.
In the one-minute video, a crowd of Boda Boda riders are seen following the silver car shouting ‘Come Out’.
The clip starts with a number of men following the car, then shortly after, about ten men are seen gathered at the driver’s door. Some are hitting the body of the car shouting ‘Get her out’.
As they are shouting and hitting the car, two of them force the driver’s door open prompting the rest to attempt to pull her out of the car.
In the disturbing video, the unidentified woman is screaming and struggling with the rowdy young men attempting to yank her out of the car. The shirt dress she is donning is torn exposing her inner-wear.
Meanwhile, two men continue pulling and harassing her; one is reaching for her car keys and another hand is struggling to unfasten her seatbelts until a police officer is seen coming to her rescue by blocking the charged and rowdy men.
Kenyans have called on the Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and DCI boss George Kinoti to bring the men to book.
“Boda Bodas are the biggest threat to national security, worse than terrorism. Their everyday recklessness on the road causes accidents that lead to loss of limbs and lives. Some of them are in gangs that rob, maim and even kill. They need to be regulated before it’s too late,” activist Boniface Mwangi said.
Arap Tilingi said “I just want the government to teach Boda guys a lesson using those crooks [as an example],”
“Something needs to be done urgently to tame this rogue Boda Boda industry. What I have watched in that Forest Road video is despicable! I hope that lady gets justice and all the help she requires to fully recover from that traumatic experience. SUCH A SHAME!” Mac Otani also shared an opinion on Twitter.
From the uproar, The Standard did a background check with the nearest police station, Parklands Police Station.
Officers at the Station said they had not received any reports from the incident at the time of publishing this article.
“The OCS said no report about the incident has been filed in the station. They might have opted to seek medical attention before filing any reports,” Kamore Maina, Standard Crime reporter said.
Other sources close to the police had also told The Standard that three culprits had been identified and that a manhunt was underway.
Later in the day, the National Police Service condemned the incident and promised action on its Twitter handle.
“Our attention has been drawn to a distasteful video circulating on social media of Boda boda riders attacking a motorist after an alleged road traffic accident. The rowdy gang went ahead and stripped the lady off her clothes.
The matter is under active investigation. We have since identified some of the perpetrators and they will be presented before a court of law upon completion of investigations,” reads the post.
However, due to the public outrage, the DCI is likely to take over the case.
The Protective and Safety Association of Kenya had condemned the behaviour and called on relevant authorities to probe the matter.
Cases of rowdy and angry Boda Boda riders harassing and sometimes lynching motorists have been on the rise.
In another video that went viral in 2020, rogue Boda Boda operators were recorded attacking a driver on Thika Superhighway after he reportedly hit their colleague.
-Additional reporting: Kamore Maina, Mate Tongola