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Police Visibility Foils DRC Kidnappings

Night police roadblocks have reappeared in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo DRC, to track down taxis accused of kidnapping, assaulting and ransoming helpless passengers. Their “Road-block” operation allows ordinary vehicles to pass and only stops taxis, recognizable by their yellow color, ordered to park on the side and open their trunk. The aim is to track down kidnappers disguised as taxi drivers and their accomplices, sometimes bogus passengers. This mode of kidnapping is not new in Kinshasa but it is somehow seeing an increase according to the police. Despite the inconvenience caused in the movement of the population, “these traffic jams are beneficial” in slowing down “the mobility of criminals,” Colonel Miguel Bagaya, head of the military. The operation made it possible to reduce the cases of kidnappings, from 7 to 8 per day to one or none, according to him, a claim corroborated by Colonel Mwana Mputu, spokesperson of the Kinshasa police.