Incidences of people going missing after boarding matatus have been scaringly on the rise in the country. Sadly, stories of people getting robbed, drugged or assaulted in matatus are not new, but the scary tales seem to be cropping up in plenty by day.
Kenyans on social media have been sharing horrid experiences in the hands of thugs in matatus. With the worrying alarm having already went off, there are a few things you can do to stay safe.
Notify a loved one when aboard
Now, this may sound ridiculous and make you look paranoid, but letting your family or friends know of your whereabouts is important. You could send a short text message to let them know that you are on your way. Inform them if you get off and decide to stall a bit doing something else, perhaps shopping or meeting a friend.
Sleeping in a matatu makes you vulnerable and an easy target. It is understandable that you may have left home before sunrise in order to get to work early, and after a long day, you end up snoozing off while aboard. That puts you at high risk of falling victim. You can’t trust the person sitting next to you unless you know each other well.
Don’t talk to strangers
There is no fault in being friendly and kind, but not everybody in a matatu genuinely wants that. They may not rob you while other people are looking, but it is that rapport they just need to create to go after you.
Have exact fare in your hands
People can be so snoopy. That instant you open your bag, purse or wallet gives the person next to you a chance to steal a look at the contents? It is advisable to have the amount you need for fare close by to avoid giving the wrong impression to any lurking thug when a few of your Sh1,000 bills pop out.
Watch your drink or food
Haven’t we all felt like we’ll starve to death if we don’t have a bite of something while in a matatu? Don’t be careless and let somebody slip drugs into your drink.
If you can persevere the hunger pangs or cravings, then don’t eat until you alight. Additionally, don’t just accept food or drink from strangers. For children who take matatu to school, they should be advised to be cautious, as they could be easy bait.
A seat for children
If your child boards a matatu unaccompanied by an adult, they should not sit on a stranger’s lap. Give them enough money to afford a seat. Sexual abuse predators and child traffickers roam everywhere.
Check on your loved ones
Drop your loved ones a text or call to ensure they are in the safety of their homes. If you suspect anything unusual, or sense any sign of them being in danger, alert the authorities.