Kigali: Rwandan traders who transport their goods through Eldoret, Kenya are often ambushed by robbers who steal their goods and vehicles, The New Times has established. The route, also known as the Northern Corridor is used by Rwandan exporters and importers to gain access to the Kenyan Port of Mombasa.
Philbert Bisamaza, the Managing Director of ITEK, an import/export company in Kigali, yesterday, gave details of how his truck full of goods, was stolen, last week, and later discovered with the goods missing. According to Bisamaza , the truck driver, Richard Mutoni, was kidnapped by in Eldoret and dumped in a forest ten kilometres from the Malaba border.
"Before they took the truck, they blind-folded the driver and drove him in a standby car several kilometres back, near the border. He was later dumped in Chitare forest by people who were dressed like Kenyan Police officers," he said.
Bisamaza added that within a period of four months, the hijackers steal more than five trucks and the goods on board.
When contacted yesterday, Rwanda's High Commissioner to Kenya, George William Kayonga, confirmed that he was aware of the incident and that his office was still gathering more information on the alleged rampant thefts. "We have received the complaints and we have requested for more information from the complainants," he said.
Kayonga, noted that the Northern corridor has for long been insecure, however, the robbers do not only target Rwandans. "What we urge our people to do is to always inform us of these incidents because we get this information from third party sources. With this, we can then present such cases to Kenyan authorities," he added.
The trucks, which mainly carry coffee and tea from Rwanda, go through the Uganda - Kenya Malaba border to Eldoret enroute to Mombasa where the goods are shipped to markets in Asia and Europe.
It is estimated that the least monetary value of goods the trucks carry along that route is valued at $80,000. This theft of coffee and tea has reportedly led to insurance companies in Rwanda denying cover for the two products because they are "prime targets for the hijackers."