DETECTIVES in Mutare recently arrested nine gun-toting robbers, including two traditional healers who were in possession of hyena legs and teeth as well as owl feathers.
The gang has been linked to two robberies that were recently recorded in Manicaland.
The seven suspected robbers were identified as Stanley Zama (29), Raymond Kampilo (31), Chris Chauke (48), Prosper Garikai (46), Brighton Dhliwayo (38), Tendai Mahari (40), and Edson Muchape (38).
Traditional healers Cephas Mlambo (52) and Clever Sithole (27) were also part of the gang and were allegedly found in possession of a wooden container with several hyena legs, two hyena teeth and owl feathers.
The suspects allegedly pounced on Delta Beverages’ Chipinge Depot and made good their escape with US$20 965 and R18 750, before attacking Knowstics Group of Schools in Mutasa and stealing two vehicles, laptops, cellphones and a firearm.
lt is believed that the role of the two traditional healers was to provide spiritual protection to the notorious robbers through charms and herbs.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Norbert Muzondo confirmed the robberies and said one of the suspects, Machape, who was a security guard at Delta Beverages’ Chipinge Depot when the incident happened, was the mastermind of the robbery.
He also said Mahari, who was a cashier at Knowstics Group of Schools, was allegedly having an affair with one of the armed robbers and played a part in the robbery at the school.
“Nine notorious robbers have been arrested so far. On June 16, detectives received information from the public, leading to the arrest of the accused persons. Information was leaked after fierce disagreements among the robbers on how to share their loot.
“During the course of the interviews, it was established that Edson (Machape) was the mastermind of the robbery at Delta Beverages in Chipinge. He was heavily involved in providing vital information to his accomplices. He feigned disarmament to facilitate the robbery process.
“During the follow-up, it was established that they shared proceeds among themselves, but some were not happy with their shares. During that period, we then received a tip-off, leading to their arrest,” said Inspector Muzondo.
He added: “After the arrest of the robbers, police managed to interview them and established that they were also linked to the Knowstics Group of Schools robbery.
“Mahari, the cashier at Knowstics Group of Schools, allegedly had an affair with one of the robbers and facilitated the robbery,” said Inspector Muzondo.
The suspects last week appeared before Mutare regional magistrate, Mrs Tilda Mazhande, facing armed robbery charges.
They were not asked to plead and were remanded in custody to July 3.
Mr Thom Nyatsuro prosecuted.
In the Delta Beverages incident, the armed robbers allegedly scaled over the precast wall to gain entrance into the premise.
Once inside, two of the accused persons stormed the guardroom before manhandling another security guard, Mr Joymen Chekani.
They force-marched him to the reception and ordered him to lie down on his stomach, before using shoelaces to tie his legs and hands from the back.
The four accused persons proceeded to the cash office where they pounced on Muchape (their accomplice) who was manning the cash office door.
Muchape was armed with a revolver that was loaded with four live rounds, but the suspects disarmed him.
They broke the screen gate and door to gain entry into the cash office where Mr Jarupeni and Mr Sithole were doing the cash handover and take-over processes.
The robbers demanded cash at gunpoint while assaulting the two.
The suspects dragged the two outside the cash office and forced them to lie down in the corridor where they also tied their hands and legs using shoelaces.
They demanded the keys to the safe and stole all the cash that was inside.
Said Inspector Muzondo: “On June 1, at Knowstics Group of Schools, the accused persons, who had forcibly taken two vehicles, a Toyota Vitz and a Toyota Wish from the school’s driver and administrator near the school, force-marched the complainants into the strong room where they broke the locking system using an iron bar.
“They stole 20 laptops which were inside the strong room and 13 cellphones that had no SIM cards. The accused persons also stole a gun cabinet which contained a rifle. They loaded the stolen property into the two motor vehicles and drove off.
“The complainant and the security guard were left in the house. The two drivers and the passengers managed to untie themselves and proceeded to the school where they narrated what happened.
“The total value of the stolen goods is US$20 200 and R2 000 and property worth US$9 700 was recovered.
— Manica Post