Rise in Risk from Boda-Bodas


In the past 24 months there has been an alarming steady rise in armed robberies around the Karen, Hardy and Langata areas of Nairobi targeting pedestrians and motorists. Armed robbers have been known to target both local and foreign nationals and typically conduct the robberies on boda-bodas (motorcycles).

boda-bodasSF highlights five examples:

1 – 12th March 2016 – a British national was jogging on Link Road when he was shot in the leg during an attempted armed robbery. The victim was armed and returned fire causing the assailants to flee.

2 – 24th May 2017 – A Kenyan motorist was robbed at gunpoint along Karen Ridge. The gunmen took valuables and escaped. Victim was unharmed.

3 – 19th October 2017 – an Australian national was walking along Warai South Road when she was shot and killed by a gunman riding pillion on a boda-boda. The shooting was less in line with the previous incidents and it appeared targeted as jewellery and other valuables were not taken. Regardless, the speed and aggression with which the incident occurred may indicate the same well-practiced group.

4 – 31st March 2018 – a Danish national was shot in the leg on the Karen Road whilst walking with his family from the Karen Blixen Museum to Karen Coffee Garden. The robbers had demanded cash and electronics  before he was shot in the leg.

5 – 31st March 2018 – A group of teenagers were having a comfort break on Marula Lane at midnight. They were approached by three men on a boda-boda and robbed of their valuables.

The modus operandi of these incidents typically follows a similar pattern whereby:

  • Victims are usually walking/running in what appears to be a quiet and safe neighbourhood
  • Robbers are armed – usually semi-automatic pistol
  • Robbers will be in at least a pair – one driving the motorcycle with the pillion passenger armed
  • Can take place at any time of day – the majority of recent incidents recorded occurred during daylight hours
  • Most common day of occurrence is Saturday – people are typically out for lunch, walking, carrying cash, mobile phones and relaxed
  • Robbers will demand cash and other valuables – if resistance is met or the robbers feel vulnerable there is a willingness to use lethal force

Conclusions and recommendations

SF recommends that individuals follow basic security precautions around Nairobi to include:

  • Do not walk around, even if the areas appear safe, well-lit and with a police presence. Instead use a trusted taxi driver.
  • Carry a “robber’s wallet” – a spare wallet containing expired credit cards and a small amount of cash. This can be handed over if confronted. The same goes for a mobile phone
  • Conduct basic journey management – let friends / family know your route and your ETA when moving around
  • Do not wear ostentatious jewellery, play loud music in your car with your windows down, or stop for comfort breaks on isolated roads
  • Vary your routes to work occasionally to avoid a set pattern of life
  • Be observant and take note of your surroundings as well as people who might be watching as you leave bars and restaurants
  • Use you mirrors regularly to spot any suspicious Boda-Boda/s that might be tailing you
  • If unsure when conducting a journey speak with your Company Security Officer (CSO) or equivalent to seek advice
  • If an incident occurs it can be reported anonymously to infoteam@salama-fikira.com

The complete report is available for download at the following link:  Rise in Risk from Boda-Bodas Nairobi

This report is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this report. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information within the report but Salama Fikira can take no responsibility for inaccuracies of fact or deduction. All images are subject to copyright.