The public transport sector in the Rift Valley region is losing millions every month due to gangs that run the industry.

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Central Rift Matatu Owners Association Chairman David Kuria said organised criminal gangs have taken over the management and operation of bus termini in the region and are extorting money from matatu owners.

Kuria said they are losing more than Sh50 million every month due to gangs who make a living by collecting bribes and protection fees.

The matatu owners in the region have petitioned Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to form a special unit of law enforcement agents to deal with the criminal gangs.

“Gangs had displaced public service vehicles from termini owned by the county government. The criminal gangs are responsible for fixing high fare prices particularly during high peak seasons such as during Easter, Christmas and New Year festivities,” he said.

Nakuru East Deputy Sub County Police Commander (SCPC) Daniel Gitavi said they have launched a crackdown on criminal gangs which prey on the transport sector.

Gitavi said the crackdown will also be conducted in estates where the gang members hide after robbing innocent passengers.

The police commander added that they have deployed more security personnel at the Central Business District bus termini to ensure operations are not interrupted and passengers are protected.