A seven-member gang armed with machetes, axes, iron bars and bicycle chains last Friday night besieged Nyaradza Business Centre in Gokwe South before searching and robbing people and businesses, police have confirmed.
According to witnesses, the gang forcibly opened shops and bars and looted alcohol before getting away with cash and cellphones.
Some people found with nothing were beaten up.
“It was a traumatic 30-minute encounter with the machete gang as they would strike at will, assaulting and cursing victims who would be found with nothing valuable.
“I lost a cellphone and US$5 which I had in my pocket, but I felt for a colleague whom they pounced on after me. I saw them assaulting him with chains over why he had nothing on him,” said Mr Maxwell Gondo.
Mr Gondo, a teacher at a nearby school, said he was about to leave the business centre when the gang rounded up people.
“We were told to lie down and they searched everyone while striking others with machetes,” he said.
Acting police spokesperson for Midlands Province Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende said police had launched a manhunt for the suspects.
“Police in Gokwe have launched a manhunt for a gang of seven male adults who attacked and robbed shop owners at Nyaradza Business Centre in Gokwe.
“It is alleged that the seven unknown suspects, armed with iron bars, axes, machetes and bicycle chains pounced on the business centre, driving in a silver Honda Fit,” said Asst Insp Mukwende.
“They got away with 33 litres of petrol, 10 litres of diesel, seven cellphones cash amounting to $3 720, R400, US$5 and alcoholic beverages,” said Asst Insp Mukwende.
She said a report was later made to police and the injured were taken to Gokwe District Hospital.
Asst Insp Mukwende dismissed social media reports that the suspects pounced on many business centres in Gokwe.
“We urge members of the public who might want to assist the police in their investigations to approach any nearest police station or make use of our suggestion boxes,” she said.