“It was very urgent and this man sounded like somebody who had forgotten something at home. He paid politely and got off,” a seemingly fed-up Solange Kabera narrated.
“Seconds later, my phone had disappeared. Never mind I had just sent an SMS to a friend before this man got off,” she said in interview at Remera last week.
You have not probably met Kigali’s pickpocketers, but you are bound to be prey for them if you move in congested city centres especially during rush hours.
They loiter in some areas in the city and wait to strike whenever opportunity comes. The vice of pick pocketing was unheard of in the past but today residents in Kigali complain about them persistently.
Some residents in Kigali interviewed by Sunday Magazine complained of losing their valuables like cell phones. And these thieves seem to be known to many city dwellers. According some victims, these thieves work in teams and always target women and strangers in the city.
“What they do is to strike when you least expect it. I have just lost two cell phones to them in Remera Taxi Park,” says Joan Assimwe, a resident of Gasabo District. Their strongest tool is the cunning nature that makes it even hard for someone to detect them.
Patience was buying a cloth in one of the Remera shops. She put her phone on the desk and she negotiated with seller. Turning her head, the phone had vanished in the air.
“It was just a second. I am still wondering who took my phone,” Patience says. Police sources say some cell phones stolen end up in the neighboring countries where they get sold cheaply.
“The stolen phones cannot obviously be used here because we arrest the suspects,” the police source said.