Nyanza/Huye — Despite measures in place to curb motorcycle thefts across the country, Police have warned that the crime is yet to be totally stopped and urged motorcycle owners to take responsibility of their properties to help put an end to such criminal activities.
In an interview with The New Times, the Southern Region Police Spokesperson Supt Hubert Gashagaza advised the general public, and particularly motorcycle owners, to work with security authorities to combat that vice.
The call comes at a time when motorcycles riders (better known as Taxi Moto operators) in Huye and Nyanza districts, Southern Province, are expressing concerns over the security of their bikes.
The riders claim to live in 'constant fear' over the safety of their property because of the theft cases.
A number of them, who talked to this paper, noted that whenever they park their motorbikes, they feel they would disappear at any moment.
"When you go for a short call, you have to hurry up and keep an eye on the bike so as to make sure it does not vanish," said Jean Marie Vianney Nzayisenga, a taxi moto operator in Nyanza town.
Jean Bizimana, another operator, said: "It is so sad. Some of us have just bought these bikes after acquiring bank loans. And in case they are stolen, you cannot get money to pay back. So, we have a reason to be concerned."
Speaking to this paper, James Semigabo, the representative of MODRICONYA, one of the three cooperatives of taxi-moto operators in Nyanza district, said in case of theft, other members help the affected in trying to recover a stolen motorcycle.
"We mobilise every one to try and find the culprit. We also contact the Police for help," he said.
He added: "If the victim is still servicing a loan from any bank, we decide on how we can help him pay back the amount".
According to Police figures, there have been three cases of motorcycle theft in Huye and Nyanza districts in the last 30 days.
One motorcycle, which was stolen from Kigali, was recovered in Nyanza en route to Burundi, Police said.
"The destination for the stolen motorcycles is largely neighbouring countries," Gashagaza told The New Times.
According to Police sources and some riders, in most of the cases the stolen motorcycles are kept for some time in hideouts, moved to new places after changing their appearance and given new number plates.
Others are transported to neighbouring countries or they are dismantled their spare parts sold.
But Gashagaza insisted that the crime rate has decreased due to strict measures which the Police put up.
However, Gashagaza urged motorcycle owners and riders to remain vigilant.
"Though it is the responsibility of the National Police to put up a mechanism to prevent and curb criminal acts, it is incumbent on owners to take charge of their properties," Gashagaza said as he advised them to consider locking their bikes with padlocks.