I Thought I Was Going To Die: Shaken Taxi Driver
He describes the attack on him by three men as the most frightening experience of his life
Ataxi driver said yesterday he thought he was going to die. This after three men attacked him about 5.20pm at Tikaram Place in Namadi Heights, in Suva yesterday, and wanted to drive his taxi away.
But he was thankful to be alive after he fought to stop them from taking his taxi. Police Commissioner BrigadierGeneral Sitiveni Qiliho was at the Samabula Police last night to meet the taxi driver and to see the progress of the investigation. The driver, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear, said: “I am lucky to be alive; I thought I was going to die. “This was the most frightening experience of my Iife. I am thankful to God that I am alive,” he said. He said it was around 4:45pm when the three men hired his taxi from Suva City. “One was sitting in front and two were sitting at the back. “They asked me to drop them at the Namadi Heights to Tikaram Place. “When we reached Tikaram roundabout, they told me to turn back and I did so.” He said the man who was sitting in front took out his wallet to pay the fare to me but another man who was just sitting behind my back said that he would pay the money. “At that time I was looking at the back and when I looked in front, I saw the man with a knife.
“I was really scared. I tried to wrestle away the knife. The man who was sitting behind me held my mouth and the third one was punching me on my head so that I can release my hold on the knife. “But I refused to leave the knife. “I struggled for about five to 10 minutes to free myself. “I asked them that what they wanted from me and the man who was sitting in the front said they do not want to kill me, they wanted to take my taxi with them. “They tried to pull me out of the taxi but they could not. “They then pulled down my seat, they began to pull my legs and hands.
“I finally managed to free myself and jumped out of the taxi,” he said.
The taxi driver said one of the three sat on the driver’s seat and wanted to drive “and suddenly take off with my taxi. “I quickly pulled out the key. “They then tried to grab the key from my hands but the key tag and the key were separated. The key fell on the ground so I kicked the key with my leg under the car.” He said the three men tried to look for the keys but they could not find it and by that time people started coming so the three ran away. “They took my mobile phone and about $80.
“I have been driving taxi for the last three years but this was the first time such incident has happened,” he said. His hand was cut and swollen from the knife struggle and blood had covered his torn clothes. Commissioner Qiliho highlighted the significance of public awareness and the important role the public plays in reporting incidents within minutes of them happening. He added that having gadgets and smart phones these days had also created a system for the Police to quickly get to the perpetrators of such crimes.
“I want to reassure the public that we are here for them, and for any such things, the quicker the report comes to us, the faster we react to it. But further to that, we have to be more proactive, when we see unusual events, or new faces in the area. If they look suspicious, do let us know so we can prevent things from happening,” Mr Qiliho said.
He said that the driver was confident in identifying the robbers and investigations were on-going. An eyewitness, Azimun Rafiq, 49, said: “We often witness robbery in our area but this was the most frightening one.
“I am still shaken by the incident and I am really concerned about my family’s safety. “Whenever any robbery happens in our area, Police would come and investigate and they will always ask me for information,” she said. Ms Rafiq said this was the reason she took the video of the incident. “It was around 5:30 pm when I was in my sitting room with my daughter when we heard the tooting horn of the vehicle. “I thought that someone was playing with our vehicle but suddenly we heard someone yelling so we peeped from the window and saw the taxi shaking. “We saw the taxi driver struggling to save himself from the three men. “We ran to save the driver. But we panicked because we did not know what to do. “Things happened so fast,” she said. “When group of iTaukei men started to run toward them, they ran away. “Someone then called the Police and they were at the scene within five minutes,” she said. Edited by Paula Tuvuki
Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho (right), with the taxi driver yesterday. The taxi driver asked that he is not identified.