TWO soldiers stationed at 1.2 Infantry Battalion in Hwange have been arrested after they allegedly robbed a man they had offered a lift in Victoria Falls and took US$150 cash at gunpoint.
Promise Ngwenya (34), of Empumalanga suburb in Hwange and Melusi Mkwananzi (28) residing at the 1.2 Infantry Battalion Barracks, were driving from Victoria Falls to Hwange when they picked Mr Zivanai Mhembere, the complainant from Mkhosana turn-off.
They told Mr Mhembere to pay US$1 for the trip from Victoria Falls to Lupinyu near Victoria Falls Airport and he produced a US$50 note which he gave to Mkwananzi. Instead of stopping at Lupinyu shops where Mr Mhembere was to drop off, Ngwenya, who was driving allegedly increased speed and drove past the bus stop.
A panicking Mr Mhembere attempted to forcibly open a locked door while the car was in motion but Mkwananzi allegedly drew a pistol from underneath a seat and pointed it at him while ordering him to sit down and also surrender his cellphone, which he did.
Ngwenya stopped the car about 10km after the shops before the two accused allegedly demanded money from Mr Mhembere who surrendered US$100 and $10.
Ngwenya then asked for Mr Mhembere’s Ecocash account number and transferred $400 to him saying it was for his transport back to Lupinyu.
The two drove off towards Hwange leaving Mr Mhembere on the road.
Ngwenya and Mkwananzi were not asked to plead to armed robbery when they appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa.
The two, who are represented by Mr Givemore Mviringi of Mvhiringi and Associates, were remanded in custody to September 3.
Prosecuting Mr Bheki Tshabalala said Mr Mhembere walked for 10km back to Lupinyu as there was no transport.
“On 8 July at about 3.45pm the two accused were driving a Toyota Noah and they picked the complainant at Mkhosana turn-off. When they were about five kilometres before Lupinyu the complainant handed US$50 to Mkwananzi so he takes the US$1 he had been charged for the trip. He was told that there was no change and they decided to look for change at Lupinyu shops. Upon reaching Lupinyu, Ngwenya locked all the doors with central lock system and sped past without stopping,” said Mr Tshabalala.
He said Mr Mhembere tried to forcibly open the door before Mkwananzi threatened him with a pistol and ordered him to surrender a phone.
The court was told that after Ngwenya pulled off the road and stopped the vehicle, he and Mkwananzi demanded money from the complainant who surrendered US$100 and $10.
The accused allegedly took the US$100 and gave back the cellphone and $10 to the complainant.
The two who still had the US$50 they had been given earlier, pushed the complainant out of the car and drove off towards Hwange.
Mr Mhembere walked back to Lupinyu and made a report to the police leading to the duo’s arrest.
The US$150 was not recovered.