A passenger aboard the ill-fated Uganda bound bus, hijacked by gunmen in Molo, Kenya on Wednesday said one of the thugs apologised to the passengers after the robbery. â€œPoleni Sana,â€ the robber said. The thugs then vanished into the darkness after going about their mission leisurely, occ
By Steven Candia
A passenger aboard the ill-fated Uganda bound bus, hijacked by gunmen in Molo, Kenya on Wednesday said one of the thugs apologised to the passengers after the robbery. â€œPoleni Sana,â€ the robber said.
The thugs then vanished into the darkness after going about their mission leisurely, occasionally warning them not to make any noise in the two-hour ordeal.
Brian Kamulegeya said he and other passengers boarded the bus belonging to the Regional Coach Bus Company, not expecting that some thugs could have breached security to slip into the bus undetected.
Kamulegeya, who was returning to Uganda to take up a new job, recounted his harrowing ordeal in the hands of his captors.
â€œWe boarded the bus at about 8:00pm in Nairobi and began the journey about 15 minutes later. An official from the company searched the passengers rather haphazardly, using a detector,â€ Kamulegeya said, adding that only one of the two laptop bags he was carrying was checked.
According to Kamulegeya, three of the thugs boarded the bus in Nairobi, while two more were picked near Nakuru. Another one, armed with an AK47, was at the site where the robbery took place.
Four hours after their departure from Nairobi, things turned bad for Kamulegeya and his 41 fellow travellers.
One of the thugs suddenly fired a shot above the driverâ€™s head, creating a hole in the cabin, waking up all the passengers.
â€œThe other two thugs, who were seated a few seats away from the driver, rudely ordered all the passengers to the back of the bus. They did not want any male passengers near the driver,â€ Kamulegeya said.
â€œOne gangster was holding a pistol to the driverâ€™s head, while his colleagues ordered him to turn down the lights and drive at a low speed. The thugs were constantly checking whether they were being followed.â€
They later ordered the driver off the main road onto a road leading to a thicket where they the driver had to dim and flash the lights two times, according to Kamulegeya. â€œMoments later, another gunman, dressed like a Policeman and armed with an AK47, appeared,â€ he said. The dimming of the lights could have been a signal for the other robber.
The thugs cautioned the passengers to cooperate â€œif they wanted to surviveâ€.
The gangsters had earlier roughed up two passengers before softening, owing to the cooperation from the victims.
The passengers were ordered out of the bus and made to line up. They surrendered their cell phones and cash and thereafter, lay on the ground facing down. Kamulegeya added that the robbers rejected his old phone and insisted on a better one.
â€œI had to go back to the bus and pull out my expensive phone which I had tucked in the seat.â€ he said. â€œThey also told us to keep our simcards if we wanted them.â€
However, a passenger, who approached one of the thugs to reclaim his simcard, was told it was impossible, given that they had stolen â€œtoo many phones to be able to single out his.â€
Kamulegeya was also robbed of Ksh20,000(about sh500,000) and his laptop. The robbers asked Kamulegeya to help check the cargo. Worried about the loss of his academic documents, he pleaded with one of the thugs to let him take the papers.
â€œHe assured me that they had left them on my seat. When I checked and they were not there I went back to him and they gave me my laptop bag to check. I later discovered them on another seat.â€
Later, one of the hijackers received a call on his mobile phone, informing him that his wife had given birth.
â€œHe inquired whether it was a normal delivery and the sex of the child. He then said he was on duty but would join them later.â€
After the thugs had loaded the items on another car, they ordered the passengers not to switch on the lights and not to leave the spot until after an hour, promising to hit the bus again in case they breached the instructions.
The incident was later reported to the nearby Mau Summit Police Post, before the the bus with its shaken passengers drove back to Nakuru.