TWELVE gun-toting robbers got away with 1,7kg of gold worth about $70 000 at Casymn Gold Mine, also known as Turk Mine in Inyathi.
The movie-style robbery in which some security guards were tied up and their supervisors locked in a room occurred around 4AM on Sunday at one of the country’s biggest gold mines.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said the suspects who were armed with pistols, pounced on security guards and mine supervisors demanding cellphones and keys to the gold plant.
She said the suspects force-marched the security guards and supervisors to the plant where they took some gold and a 20 litre container with diesel before exiting the premises after disconnecting electricity and the CCTV system and taking away its server.
“On 23 December around 4AM, 12 people wearing masks proceeded to Dawn Compound which houses Safeguard Security employees,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said the suspects forcibly opened a locked door into Safeguard Security supervisor Mr Emmanuel Gwaenda’s house.
“Six of the unknown robbers who were armed with pistols entered the room and pointed a gun at Mr Gwaenda while demanding his cellphone and keys to the plant. He surrendered the keys and cellphones after which the suspects force marched him to the next room where Mr Tapfumaneyi Munetsi and Mr Anthony Chiwange who are security guards were sleeping,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said the suspects took cellphones from Messrs Munetsi and Chiwange before forcing them to lie on the floor facing down.
The suspects allegedly tied the two guards’ hands to the back using plastic twine from potato bags and gagged them with reflector bibs.
Chief Insp Makonese said the armed robbers split up with some remaining guarding Messrs Munetsi and Chiwange while the others allegedly force-marched Mr Gwaenda to the plant supervisor, Mr Philimon Muzamba’s house.
The suspects allegedly ordered Mr Gwaenda to knock on the door and call out Mr Muzamba and pretend to him that all was well.
When Mr Muzamba opened the door, the robbers immediately pointed guns at him and demanded keys to the plant.
Mr Muzamba directed the robbers to plant assistant Mr Mike Madembo’s house.
The suspects force-marched Messrs Gwaenda and Muzamba to Mr Madembo’s house where they also demanded the keys to the plant.
After getting the keys from Mr Madembo, the suspects allegedly regrouped with their accomplices and force-marched the trio to the plant.
They ordered Mr Gwaenda to unlock the gates and entered the premises.
Two duty security guards Advance Dube and Micah Dube who were armed with a shotgun did not suspect a robbery was in progress.
Chief Insp Makonese said the suspects later ordered the two duty guards to lock a sniffer dog in a cage and ordered them to accompany them to the cell room where trapping of gold is done during mining.
“The suspects ordered Mr Muzamba to switch off power and they used a bolt cutter and iron bars to force open the premises and took eight wire wools with trapped gold.
They also took 20 litres of diesel from the storeroom before proceeding to the security manager’s office where they disconnected a CCTV monitor and took away its server. The suspects then locked Muzamba, Madembo, Gwaenda, Advance and Micah inside the cell room before exiting using the same exit gate,” added Chief Insp Makonese.
A report was made at Inyathi Police Station.
Police recovered a Safeguard Security uniform about 50 metres from the premises.
Another uniform and a communication radio were recovered in a bush near Queens Park suburb in Bulawayo.
The gold is estimated to weigh 1.7kg valued at $69 700.