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Eastlands matatu operators losing big cash to extortionist ring

A cartel of youths is extorting up to Sh 1,000 from public service vehicle operators in Eastlands on a daily basis, Nairobi News can reveal.

On Saturday morning, the youth set up a make shift “road blocks” along Old Airport Road near Pipeline Estate, where they openly went about stopping matatus and collecting “service charge”from the crew.

The youth are said to be discharging their duties on behalf of Embassava Sacco and that some of the monies go into a kitty that is used to “safeguard” the matatu operators.

Considering the number of matatus that ply these routes on a daily basis, the amount of cash that these youths collect each day could run into hundred of thousands of shillings.

As if that that is not but enough, the methods that these youths employ in their extortionist schemes are downright intimidating.

INTIMIDATION

“Any matatu crew that attempts to defy their orders are barred from dropping off of picking passengers at those points. We have had instances of matatus having their tyres deflated by the cartel for refusal by the crew to comply,” one driver of a matatu plying the route told Nairobi News.

Other monies are shared among the extortionists and their masterminds, who argue that they have been forced to engage in these activities for lack of employment opportunities.

“We need to take care of ourselves as the youth of this country. We cannot just sit idle. Most of these big businesses are run by people who most probably got the capital from the public coffers. We are just taking back our share,” one member of the cartel said.

Several other outlawed groups in Eastlands, including Mungiki, Taliban, Kamjesh and Baghdad also have cartels that extort matatu operators within their zones of operation.