Armed robbers sow terror in Mutare

HARARE - Residents in the affluent suburbs of the border city of Mutare are living in fear amid a spate of armed robberies.

The suburbs of Morningside, Greenside, Beira Corridor, Palmerston, Darlington and Borderview, all near the Mozambique border, have become hot spots for machete and axe-wielding robbers.

It is understood the Mutare Central Police Station’s criminal investigation department is set to dispatch a team of investigators to work with their Mozambican counterparts in Chimoio to crack down on the criminals.

The robbers are believed to commit crimes in Zimbabwe and hide out in Mozambique, where they sell their loot. Earlier this month Kumbirai Machingura, who lives in Greenside, was a victim.

“They axed down the door to gain entry into the house. I could not do anything to protect my family. One of them struck me with a hammer. They attempted to rape my wife, but were interrupted by my loud screams,” said Machingura.

Machingura’s was one of five houses in his neighbourhood robbed that night.

Earlier this month two students at Mutare Polytechnic College were robbed of items worth more than $2 000 and raped by a group of armed robbers.

Zimbabwe Republic Police Manicaland Province spokesperson Tavhiringwa Kakohwa confirmed the spate of armed robberies in Mutare.

“I cannot give statistics or developments regarding these cases. But I can confirm there has been a high number of armed robbery cases involving suspected Mozambican nationals,” he said.

Police say there has been an increase in the number of armed robberies in the country overall, but would not give statistics.

Harare had 15 armed robberies last month, the highest number of armed robberies recorded. The bulk of these took place between October 16 and 30. Police said 15 suspects had been arrested.

Police statistics show armed robbers mostly use Ex-Japanese cars as getaway vehicles.

The most high-profile arrests made last month involved suspects using a Mercedes Benz getaway car at Zindoga shopping area in Waterfalls.

These three suspects were linked to a series of cash heists in the city. The car’s tyres were shot and punctured during a dramatic chase by police.

A pistol, eight bullets, a magazine of nine rounds, 70 explosives, a pair of handcuffs, generator detonator cables, a steel hammer, registration number plates, a navy blue work suit, silver reflectors and a silver pellet gun were recovered.

Further investigations led to the arrest of another suspect and the discovery of more weapons and stolen goods.

The economic crisis in Zimbabwe, under pinned by cash shortages, has seen foreign currency traders targeted by criminals because of cash. Forex trader Archibald Mazuru was armed with a pistol. — Sunday Times


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