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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A True Kenyan Story: Matatu Nightmare

When I boarded the matatu headed for my rural home in Nyeri that fateful day in 2001, it never crossed my mind that there was such great horror ahead for me and the other female passengers in that vehicle.

If anything, it had been very reassuring that a thorough search had been carried out on all passengers prior to our boarding the matatu at the popular Nyamakima bus stage, in downtown Nairobi. Matatu-jackings had become too common and this precaution was very re-assuring because it meant that there was nobody onboard carrying a gun.

The journey was uneventful until we were a few kilometres from reaching our destination. A very young man that you would never suspect who was seated at the front of the Nissan minibus next to the driver asked the driver to drop him off at a very dark remote place on the main road. It sounded like a reasonable request. After all it was now dark and it made sense for somebody to be dropped off as close as possible to where they were going, although the place was so dark that it didn't look like anybody lived anywhere close by for miles around.

The moment the vehicle stopped there was a commotion at the back and three other young men (they couldn't have been more than 19 years old) emerged brandishing guns.

I was seated around the middle of the matatu and I froze in horror and went numb. Everything started happening in a hallucinatory way, like it was happening to somebody else or in a movie. There had been a total of 4 car-jackers in the matatu. They took over the vehicle and drove off the main road into the bush for several minutes. We finally stopped in what appeared to be a small clearing.

They proceeded to swiftly rob passengers of all their valuables at gunpoint. Wallets, mobile phones and all sorts of valuables were all put inside a makeshift sack they had fashioned from several shirts belonging to passengers. But the nightmare was only just beginning.

All passengers were then asked to strip naked and our clothes put in a heap. We stood there shivering out of fright and the chilly night air. We were then ordered at gun point to have sex with each other. I saw at least two of the gangsters also involved in the rape of passengers but they used condoms, which were also later recovered from the scene of the crime by the police.

At least two people penetrated me. One an elderly man who was stinking of sweat. It was all too horrible to imagine, let alone be involved in. It continued for what looked like forever. Finally we realized that the gangsters had left (with our clothes as well, so that it was difficult for us to seek help).

My normal senses started returning to me and I had these terrible feelings that are difficult to describe. I felt filthy and violated, there was deep fear in me. What would my husband say? Had I contracted AIDS? It was a horror that did not leave me and will probably never leave me completely.

Even today I can't bring myself to talk about it. This experience of writing it down is the first time I have really described it in any detail.

I have never gone for an AIDS test to date, although we were all treated at the district hospital and given medication. I am no longer with my husband as result of this incident although he supports our children. I have no idea how the guns were never discovered in the search carried out prior to the beginning of our journey.

Blogger/Editor's note:
(Gang rape and forced sex during matatu car jackings and even during robberies in homes is still a menace in Kenya today, although it has dramatically reduced from the high statistics of 2000 to 2002. What makes it worse is that most cases go unreported or are reported days after in scanty detail.

In the same year when this particular incident happened, a matatu carrying mainly female nurses going off duty was hijacked somewhere on Ngong Road and the passengers, including the nurses raped and forced to have sex with other passengers. The vehicle was later abandoned somewhere in Kawangware where people going to work the next morning came across it with condoms scattered all over the floor of the Nissan minibus.

This is a sick, bizarre and inhuman crime whose origin or motivations are unclear. People point to the increased use of drugs and exposures to Internet sex (some of which have violent tendencies) as possible causes.)

Send in your True Kenyan story today. Email to umissedthis@yahoo.com
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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I worked in Somalia, I met a case of a girl of 16 who was gang raped by the Somali Militias (she too was Somali). After the ordeal she wanted to commit suicide. She had been a virgin at the time of the rape. An old woman told her that what had been done to her had been without her consent. The virginity taken away from her was done without her consent. And so when one takes away something from you without your consent - you cant blame yourself. That saved the girls life. Be encouraged - if you did not consent - it is not your mistake. Leave your life and continue. There is no fareness in this world. Take it as it comes.

Anonymous said...

During the coup attempt,my Indian neighbors wife and daughter were raped by a gang that also knocked on our door but when they saw black kenyans, they left. The next day, the man shot them both and killed himself. It was an incredibly thing because the man felt so violated that he couldn't live on , and he took his family with him.There were many such stories in Parklands and Nairobi West.I am angry that Raila admitted that he knew about this because my sister and i were almost shot driving home that night by airforce guys who found us in a bar.We found three bullet holes in the car.Kenya can only change through democracy-our ancestors shed blood so we didn't have to suffer that again.

Anonymous said...

WHAT A SHOCKER. IT HAPPENED TO ME ALSO WHEN I WAS ESCORTING A FRIEND TO THE STAGE.WE MET A GROUP OF MEN WHO PROCEEDED TO GANG RAPE US FOR 4 HOURS. AFTERWARDS I FELT FILTHY AND I COULD NOT CONCENTRATE CONSIDERING I WAS DOING MY FORM FOUR EXAMS THAT YEAR. BUT I THANK GOD THAT HE PULLED ME THROUGH AND I PASSED ENOUGH TO MANAGE TO GO TO UNI WHERE I AM NOW DOING MY BCOM DEGREE.TO ALL THOSE VICTIMS OUT THERE JUST KNOW THAT THERE IS LIFE AFTER TRAGEDY

Cynthia said...

Sorry dear, thats painful for me to even read, its like i see it happening. Am glad you are that strong, God will forever see you through and punish them for the sins they commit on innocent people. Trust in God

Anonymous said...

Lets kip praying en thank God 4 every single moment.I feel so sorry for al that happened bt take Heart.En do Trust in God.

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Anonymous said...

i av never told anyone about this but i av to for the sake of other ladies out there.....

i was raped for so many hours by a guy who is 9 years older....

though he took away my virginity there is 1 thing that he did not take with him that is my willl power i know that God has forgiven me because i did not consent to this heinous act but i will move on ther is light at the end of the tunnel i am going to be a successfull woman...



what i av come to learn is that to give thanks to God in ALL circumstances...you know after the rape that morning i really wanted to throw myself infront of a moving bus so tha i die but the will power i was telling you about rose higher and it was God who was telling me that he did not create me to die on thika road.....


am just out to encourage all kenyan ladies out there you are greater than the situation th@ you are facing......



and dont you forget you are beautiful....

Jamu said...

Hi guy's Great website keep informing the ignorant kenyan's out there on what is really going on in this country, Ours is a country that has been birthed from a bitter and bad seed thus the result is bitter and bad fruit remember John Githongo's book 'Its our turn to eat', but to be honest I don't blame the thugs(though i don't support them either) because non of us is innocent of anything they are just copying the society (big piece, big cake), I was robbed and mugged more than once in the streets of Nairobi and nobody helped me infact most giggled and smiled when my wallet was emptied of more than 1000/= on each occasion and some of them were women, and it was the only money I had with me who cared nobody, so do you expect anybody to be bothered when this carjackers take advantage of this weak and vulnerable women, its the only pleasure and enjoyment they get from a job of murder, violence and insecurity have'nt you noticed how a carjacking attempt can't miss rape let's face it they are already addicted to the free pussy. how do you expect them to walk away from it without eating the cake? (and they know they can get away with it especially with our corrupt and useless police force) clean innocent sista's are travelling in this buses, I almost wonder with all the idlers and jobless and horny youth in this country what ideas do you think are entering there minds when they read this articles? I know it only affects you when it hits closer home to you that's why my only fear is how am I going to raise up a family in this messed up country? again just imagine what ideas are we putting in this school kids minds remember they are watching us and they will soon be using evening preps as rape profession courses, we are all in big problems my friends and are in free fall and the floor is arriving on us all fast. may God help us all.

Nairobi women said...

Matatus in Kenya are crazy

Anonymous said...

I was carjacked together with my friend and the criminals went on and raped me after throwing him out of the car at some point. After the ordeal they went on and left me somewhere else where I got help from a bodaboda that took me to a police station. The cops didn't seem shocked or concerned but thank God my boyfriend had reported the matter to the same station and left his number behind. We had been robbed off everything and I did not have a cell phone to call him, all the cops said they did not have airtime for me to call. The same bodaboda guy left to buy some airtime and we called my friend who came immediately and took me to hospital. I was treated cleaned and put on Arvs for a month to protect me from HiV and birth control pills to protect me from pregnancy. It took me a while to get over all this but being safe from HIV and pregnancy brought back my strength and Iam now happily married. When this happens to you do not be ignorant seek medical help and fight to be safe and trust in God always to overcome the horror.

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