The Centre Regional Division of the Judicial Police in Mokolo, Yaoundé, has arrested four young people who purportedly belong to a gang that assaults and kidnaps passengers in taxis. The accused were presented to the public on September 26, 2023.
Among them were three men and a woman, their ages ranging between 26 and 30 years.
The police said the gang operated by posing as taxi drivers or passengers. They would pick up their victims, drive them to secluded locations where they assaulted them, and steal their belongings.
At times, they would kidnap people and hold them hostage until their families paid a ransom.
The police have been investigating these acts for several months and could arrest the four suspects thanks to collaboration from some victims.
The gang has been responsible for a number of assaults and kidnappings in Yaoundé in recent months, said Charles Ndongo Epok, the Chief of Service in charge of Criminal Investigation at the Centre Regional Division of the Judicial Police.
He warned the public to be vigilant when boarding taxis, and to avoid taxis that are not clearly marked.
He also urged anyone who has been victimised to come forward and report it to the police.
The arrest of this suspected gang could bring some relief to the inhabitants of Yaoundé. Taxi assaults, pickpocketing, and kidnappings have become a major problem in the city in recent years, and the arrest of this gang will keep other vandals on alert.
“A month hardly goes by without a crime being recorded in this Yaounde. The level of insecurity in this town is alarming. Though the police are working hard towards this, a lot still needs to be done,” said Atangana Joel, a resident of Yaounde.
Many who live in Yaounde believe the forces of law and order still have much to do to track down dozens of armed gangs that have complicated life for many denizens.
The city’s administration has taken measures in the past to stem vandalism and mounting insecurity in the city. In July last year, the Senior Divisional Officer for Mfoundi Division, where Yaounde is located, instructed the police and gendarmes to search bags or suspicious packages to ensure people were not carrying harmful objects.
This was after two locally-made bombs exploded at Mokolo Market in Yaounde on July 2 and 12, 2022.