3 armed robbers pounce on Chinese mine, get away with US$20 000

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THREE armed robbers who allegedly raided a Chinese owned mine and several houses in Bulawayo have been arrested for robbing their victims of more than US$20 000.

MacDonald Tinashe Majaya (35) of Gwabalanda suburb, Oliver Mhlanga (36) of Hillcrest suburb and Blessing Luzhi (36) of Mpopoma suburb allegedly connived with one Simbarashe Lenox Kamwendo, who is currently on remand in prison and five others who are still at large and raided Sqneed Chrome Zimbabwe Company in Lalapanzi.

They force marched the workers to the company’s administration offices at gunpoint where they ordered them to lie on their stomachs before tying their hands using shoe laces and electrical cables.

The armed robbers attacked their victims using pistol butts, a shovel and machetes.

Majaya, Mhlanga and Luzhi appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Nomasiko Ndlovu facing armed robbery charges.

They were remanded in custody to April 21.

The prosecutor, Ms Nokuthula Chitsungo said on February 7 this year between 8PM and 10PM, the accused persons and five others who are still at large, connived and went to Sqneed Chrome Zimbabwe Company in Lalapanzi.

They ordered the employees to lie down before they tired their hands using electrical cables and shoe laces and assaulted them.

“The accused persons assaulted the complainants using pistol butts booted feet, a shovel and a machete. They searched one of the complainants and took US$60, a national identity card and a Gtel X 7S cellphone. The also took a Samsung and $30,” said Ms Chitsungo.

The court heard that the accused persons searched other employees and took varying amounts of money ranging from US$33 to US$130 as well as 500 kwacha.

Four of the accused persons then proceeded to the company’s administration block while the others remained behind guarding their hostages.

“Upon arrival at the administration block, they pulled out pistols and pointed at the company directors. They ordered them to lie down and tied their hands before attacking them with a hammer and fists,” said Ms Chitsungo.

The court heard that the accused persons broke into the directors’ houses after damaging the locks using hammers. They ransacked one of the directors’ houses and stole cellphones, a wallet containing

US$590, bank cards and their Chinese identity documents.

“They also broke into another house and went away with US$16 100, R1 000, 1 800 Chinese yuan, $7 000, a Huawei cellphone, travelling bag, one pair of sports shoes and fled from the scene leaving the complainants still tied,” said Ms Chitsungo.

The accused persons were intercepted by police while heading towards their two getaway cars while their accomplices managed to flee in one of the vehicles, a Honda Fit.

Investigations by police revealed that the car belonged to Majaya while a cellphone recovered from the abandoned car belonged to Luzhi.

Further investigations also revealed that the gang was involved in a spate of armed robberies targeting houses in Bulawayo.

In one of the houses in Nkulumane, they raided the property and went away with US$5 237, clothes and two cellphones.

— Chronicle


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