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Public Sceptical About Using Drone Taxis after Infamous Abductions

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The vans were reported in almost all arrests conducted during campaigns and in the aftermath of the heated political season, in the capital Kampala and its outskirts. But many of the arrested people have remained missing, and families struggling to establish their whereabouts.
A cartoon showing people running away from a numberless Drone with an operator calling Passengers to board. Cartoon By Spire Ssentengo

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Residents of Kampala have developed fear about boarding drones, the Toyota Hiace vans, which have in recent weeks become common for being used in reported kidnaps and abductions.

The vans were reported in almost all arrests conducted during campaigns and in the aftermath of the heated political season, in the capital Kampala and its outskirts. But many of the arrested people have remained missing, and families struggling to establish their whereabouts.

It is against this background that people say they are scared whenever they see a drone drive past or park near them. Many say that images of Ugandans who have resurfaced with scars of torture imbue their minds upon seeing a drone, and they have to flee for their safety to avoid falling victims.

Rogers Kibate, a saloon operator at Arua Park Plaza says he has developed a phobia for drones and can never take one, even if it is used for public transport. Similarly, Julius Tumwebaze, a Kampala-based trader says that he always thinks he is going to fall a victim to the kidnaps, whenever he sees a drone drive close to him, even though he is not an active member of the opposition.

Tumwebaze says he would rather walk to his destination than board a drone taxi.

//Cue in; "Oyinza okusanga drone...

Cue out...emu oba bbiri"//

Bob Ndugwa, a Bodaboda rider, says his 'heart skips' each time a drone approaches or drives past him. His fear is that he could be the next target. Ndugwa explains that people in his workplace flee, whenever a Drone passes or parks close to their stage for more than two minutes.

//Cue in; "Okulinnya singa ngyisangamu...

Cue out...nze ndugenderamu."//

Fredesio Nsereko, a trader in Kisekka market says that although the infamous kidnap Drone vehicles are black and white, bare no number plate and have tinted screens,  he cannot risk taking any drone, even if its branded as a public service vehicle.

Nsereko says with government officials coming up with excuses rather than deal with the matter, he fears for dear life and thus avoids the drones.

//Cue in; "Kati ssisobola...

Cue ou...nga nvaawo"//

We found Uthman Tamale, a Bodaboda rider on Ben Kiwanuka street who says he rides his Bodaboda while in fear. He says he develops a feeling of unease when he sees a drone driving behind him or parked near him, but adds, that he can use one if it's clearly labelled.

//Cue in; "Era obwedda...

Cue out...okutaasa obulamu."//

Mustafa Mayambala, the chairman of Uganda Transport and Development Agency-UTRADA says passengers should not be scared of drone taxis, as long as the vehicle is labelled.

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