FIVE armed robbers accused of robbing two Harare businessmen — Messrs Tawanda Nyambirai and Rodney Dangarembizi — of over US$220 000, were yesterday killed in a shoot-out with detectives.
Two of them survived and were arrested.
Police sources suspect the five were part of the gang that robbed money changers of foreign currency and a car at Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza recently.
A notorious suspect on police’s list of most wanted criminals, Musa Taj Abdul (alias Musa Mahommed) was among those killed.
He had been on the run for over a decade. The other slain robbers were identified as Taurai Chitepo, Prince Zakeo, Godfrey Mupamhanga and the other one only identified as Mahlangu.
Police sources said the gang was based in South Africa and would only cross into Zimbabwe for “special assignments” before travelling back to their base.
Police recovered four firearms — a CZ, FN Browning, Star pistol and a revolver. Some 19x9mm rounds of ammunition and four 7,65mm rounds of ammunition were also recovered.
A Toyota Fortuner that was being used by detectives to track the suspects was extensively damaged during the shoot-out with bullet holes all over. However, none of the detectives was injured.
The police sources said detectives working on a tip off, had been tracking and tightly monitoring the gang for three days before they pounced on them along Glenara Avenue.
The gang was travelling in a Mazda BT50 double cab without registration plates.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the shoot-out, but said two robbers had been confirmed dead.
“They were operating from South Africa and they were working with their local informants, who supplied them with information. The gang was using a Mazda BT50 double cab and was involved in a high speed chase with the detectives from CID Homicide. The chase started from Hatfield before they drove along Glenara Avenue and entered into a garage near Rhodesville Police Station,” he said.
The robbers were the first to fire shots, prompting the police to fire back.
“As of now I can only confirm that two of them are dead and we will release more details tomorrow (today) as investigations are still in progress,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Last month, the gang, using inside information, separately stormed Mr Nyambirai’s TN Holdings head office in Harare and Mr Dangarembizi’s business premises at Chisipite wearing masks.
They first pounced at Mr Dangarembizi’s premises where they forcibly took away US$37 000, two vehicles and 13 cellphones before proceeding to Mr Nyambirai’s office where they took a cash safe with US$180 000.
Investigations revealed that the robbers had information that the two businessmen were in possession of huge amounts of cash and they even stated the exact figures in the safes during the robberies.
Mr Dangarembizi was at his premise when the robbers arrived, while Mr Nyambirai was away.
Last month, business briefly came to a halt at Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza when the gang fired 10 shots into the air and robbed two illegal foreign currency dealers of US$7 000, up to $30 000 and a Toyota Allion.
The nine robbers, who were wearing masks, jumped off a Toyota Hilux truck armed with pistols, rifles and a machete before one of them ordered the illegal foreign currency dealers, who trade outside the Simbisa Food Court, to lie down.