Twelve suspected armed robbers, including two ex-policemen who were released on bail pending appeal at the High Court last year, are now on police’s most wanted list for committing a spate of robberies in and around Harare and skipping bail.
A manhunt for the 12, and other wanted suspects, has since been launched.
Some are believed to have skipped the country to evade arrest since March last year.
They were once arrested but disappeared after being granted bail by the courts, resulting in warrant of arrests being issued against them.
Those being hunted down are Alouis Nyamadzawo, Decide Rice, Godfrey Josi, Elijah Temai Vumbunu, Leonard Huni, Fanuel Chikadaya, Peter Mushipe, Conwell Kasambarare (28), Musafare Mupamhanga, Spicer Takawira and the two ex-cops Watson Magodhi (37) and Ayanda Gumbo (28).
Most of the suspects have previous criminal records and warrants of arrests.
They are believed to be behind the recent spate of criminal activities countrywide.
In March last year, a robbery gang comprising the two ex-policemen, Magodhi and Gumbo, a soldier and cellphone dealers, were arrested after unleashing terror in Chitungwiza and Kuwadzana, using guns, machetes and axes. During its criminal operations, the gang allegedly stole $29 350, US$6 310 and R12 000 from five victims.
Magodhi was stationed at Support Unit armoury and Gumbo at Support Unit Zulu Troop. They were jointly charged with Golden Magunje (30), based at Zimbabwe National Army Headquarters.
It is understood they allegedly committed the crimes in connivance with two cellphone dealers, Norest Hombarume (23) and Brendon Kupeta (23), both based at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.
According to the State, Magunje bought the CZ pistol he was using to commit crimes from Gumbo.
The gang then appeared before magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing five counts of armed robbery and were remanded in custody to March 30 with instructions to approach the High Court for bail due to the gravity of their offences. They were then given bail and disappeared.
Recently, Musafare Mupamhanga, Conwell Kasambarare and Spicer Takawira, believed to be part of a gang that raided Mashwede Holdings and got away with over US$100 000, R42 000, $14 000 worth of fuel coupons, two firearms and 20 live rounds of ammunition, were recently released on bail pending appeal in separate incidents at the High Court.
The three, who operated with one of the most dangerous robbers in Zimbabwean history including suspected gang leader – Musa Taj Abdul – were released after the State consented on the basis that some of their co-accused were out on bail.
Kasambarare, Mupamhanga and their accomplice, Takawira, then applied for bail which was granted between May and October. Kasambarare was granted bail on May 26 while Takawira got his on August 19 last year.
Mupamhanga was supposed to stand trial for his armed robbery charges on February 17 this year with co-accused Douglas Mutenda, Prince Makodza, Carrington Marasha, Liberty Mupanhanga, Godfrey Mupamhanga, and Takawira.
On January 21, Mupamhanga was supposed to be tried at Harare magistrates’ court on other armed robbery charges with Eddison Mashamhanda, Spicer Takawira, Prince Makodza, Douglas Mutenda, Nevanji Madanhire, Christopher Mashamhanda and Dudzai Chidangwara.
He was also supposed to appear in court on December 30 for routine remand on similar charges with Musa Taj Abdul, Godfrey Mupamhanga, Spicer Takawira, Carrington Marasha, Benjamin Chitunhu and Conwell Kasambarare.
Mupamhanga was initially denied bail when he applied at the High Court on October 23 this year through his lawyers from Maposa and Ndomene Legal Practitioners. The State opposed the application, arguing that they had a very strong case against him.
Barely six days later, after his bail application was dismissed at the High Court, Mupamhanga engaged a different lawyer from Zimudzi and associates and approached the same court. The new lawyers made a fresh bail application arguing that his co-accused, Spicer Takawira and Conwell Kasambarare, had been granted bail.
Last Saturday, suspected armed robber Douglas Mutenda, who skipped bail and had been on the run, appeared in court following his arrest in Mhondoro on Christmas eve.
Mutenda, who was released after law officer Mr Douglas Chesa consented to the granting of bail on December 8, failed to appear in court on December 17 and a warrant of arrest was issued against him.