Abel Zhakata Senior Reporter
SIX robbers who were armed with AK47 assault rifles recently pounced on three families in Penhalonga and Zimunya and stole groceries.
The robbers attacked two Penhalonga families during the same night and raided another one the following day in Zimunya.
Another group of robbers disguised themselves as police officers on a Covid-19 compliance patrol and raided a bar owner in Zimunya.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa confirmed the robberies.
“On May 2, the suspects pounced on Plot Number 3, Pagomo, Toronto in Penhalonga at around 1am in the morning.
“They were armed with machetes, axes and a rifle. The complainant, Cosmas Tomu was sleeping with his wife Takudzwa Munyabvu when they heard a knock on the door. Before they could do anything, the robbers broke the door and gained entry.
“While inside, the robbers demanded keys to the main house and one of the assailants assaulted Tomu with a machete on the head while the other one fired a shot in the air,” he said.
Tomu and his wife were then tied up by the robbers.
The suspects ransacked his house and stole $25 and groceries worth $425 before disappearing into the darkness.
A report was made to the police and detectives attended the scene.
Thirty minutes later, the same suspects went to a Seventh Day Adventist Church in the same area and attacked a caretaker
who was sleeping in his house.
“Fanual Svongwa was asleep with the lights on. The suspects broke into the house and told the complainant to cover his face with some blankets and he complied. They took some cellphones, US$50, $170, two blankets and some groceries,” said Inspector Kakohwa.
Having made good their escape, two robbers attacked a Zimunya family the following day in Mukwecheni Village. The suspects, who were wearing balaclavas, broke into a tuck-shop where John Njerema and his wife Prudence Muchesa were sleeping.
They pointed a firearm at the complainants and ordered them to cover their faces with a blanket. The robbers ransacked the tuck-shop and stole $245, US$7 and groceries valued at $5 880.
Meanwhile, a butchery owner based in Dangamvura, Mutare, is facing robbery charges after he — together with four other accomplices — disguised themselves as police officers on a Covid-19 compliance patrol and raided a bar owner in Zimunya on May 2.
Clad in police regalia and armed with handcuffs, the culprits terrorised patrons who were drinking at Munax General Dealer Bottle-store.
They allegedly took the cash register and stole cellphones from the bar attendant and another complainant. The suspects went on to assault patrons who were at the bottle-store and ordered them to run to their homes and stay indoors in line with the national lockdown directives.
The suspects — Lucky Manyandure (23) of Gosho Village, Tawanda Costina a.k.a Dahwa (28), Takudzwa Simango and John Mazhumu (25) of Dangamvura as well as Prince Madziro (30) of Zimunya — have since appeared before a Mutare magistrate facing robbery charges.
They were denied bail and remanded in custody. The trial will commence after the lockdown but they will come to court for routine remand.
Manyandure operates a butchery at Chitsa Shop situated at Boka Shopping Centre in Dangamvura.
Inspector Kakohwa said the suspects, who were driving a pick-up truck, stopped at Munax General Dealer at around 9pm.
“They parked about 50 metres away from the shop and walked to the bottle store. While inside, they asked the bar attendant, Donny Matanga, why he was defying the Covid-19 regulations by opening the bar and selling liquor,” he said.
“The suspects then ordered everyone in the bottle store to lie down. The patrons were assaulted before they were told to flee to their respective homes.
“They handcuffed Matanga and Rodney Dube, who was also behind the bar counter. During the ensuing melee, one of the suspects jumped over the counter and took a cash register which was carrying $180 and a cellphone which was loaded with $800 in an Ecocash account.”
It is alleged that the suspects then force marched Matanga and Dube to their vehicle.
They released the duo but ordered Matanga to give them US$20 as ‘fine’ for flouting the lockdown directives.
Dube’s cellphone was taken away from him after he told the suspects that he did not have the money. The suspects then sped off in their vehicle.
However, their luck ran out when they were arrested two days later after detectives got a tip-off of their whereabouts.
Last week, three machete-wielding robbers raided a Penhalonga house and robbed a couple of cash and their household property worth $6 000, before taking turns to rape the woman.
The trio severely assaulted the man with a machete all over his body, before tying him up with a rope.
After raping the helpless man’s wife, the gang vanished into the darkness.
Investigations are still in progress on that case.