A 15-MAN gang brandishing an AK 47 rifle and machetes allegedly attacked shop owners at a business centre in Gwanda and left with R14 000, $1 100 and groceries whose value is yet to be ascertained.
The gang invaded Gobathema Business Centre in Guyu on Saturday at around 9PM.
They allegedly fired shots into the air and sent patrons at night spots scurrying for cover before breaking into shops, ransacking some and demanding cash at gunpoint from others.
They attacked shop owners who resisted their demands with machetes and left one unconscious. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “I can confirm that we recorded an armed robbery case which occurred at Gobathema Business Centre in Guyu where a group of 15 unidentified men who were armed with machetes and an AK47 rifle went about robbing shops.
“They arrived at the business centre, fired two shots in the air to threaten patrons who then fled. They invaded several shops and took cash amounting to R14 000, $1 100 and groceries whose value is yet to be ascertained.
“Investigations are underway and we would like to appeal to members of the public with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact any nearest police station. As police we urge businesspeople to be on the alert and not discuss their financial matters with just anyone as that might put them at risk of being victims. In this case it seems the suspects were targeting shops that had a lot of money. The police are working tirelessly to ensure these culprits are brought to book.”
A source close to the investigations who preferred anonymity said after the suspects had dispersed patrons, shop owners locked their premises out of fear of being attacked but the gang went on to forcibly enter the shops demanding cash.
The source said the gang first went to Allan’s Butchery where they struck the owner with a machete and left him unconscious. He said after the gang took R600 and $170 from the butchery they went to Thembisiwe Ndlela’s shop.
“At Thembisiwe Ndlela’s shop they forced open a locked door and gained entry. They demanded cash from her and she gave them R9 000 and they also took some groceries and left.
“The gang went on to Khethiwe Nyathi’s shop where they broke a window in order to gain entry. They demanded cash from her and she gave them R4 500 and $940 and they took some groceries. They loaded the goods in a vehicle and drove away,” said the source.