Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 16:06 GMT
Benin's mystery moped murders
Cotonou moped taxi drivers are now running scared
By Karim Okanla in Cotonou
Security forces in Benin are on alert following a wave of gruesome murders targeting moped taxi drivers.
Seven drivers of the so-called "take-me-bump-bump" mopeds have been slain in recent weeks in the capital Porto-Novo and the main city of Cotonou.
Unknown attackers shot the drivers either in the back or in the head and dumped the bodies on the pavement before making off with their mopeds.
Television footage of a freshly murdered "take-me-bump-bump" rider was broadcast in Cotonou at the weekend.
Local police told the BBC that joint police and military units were now patrolling the city at night.
Many residents will be walking home now
But the police source also said moped riders would be wise to avoid many neighbourhoods of Cotonou altogether after dark because of the lack of street lighting.
The moped drivers union has also banned riding between 2300 and 0600 local time.
One driver said the measure would probably save lives but added that night-shift workers and those with no transportation of their own would suffer.