A policeman was shot and killed on Monday night by suspected robbers in Luveve in Bulawayo, while an armed robber believed to be part of a syndicate operating from South Africa was shot and killed in the city centre in a separate shoot-out.
On Monday night, Constable Gibson Tafara Madzimure (35) was in the group of police officers reacting to a robbery in Luveve when he was shot and killed by armed robbers.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said a manhunt for the robbers has since been launched.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police sadly reports the death of Constable Gibson Tafara Madzimure who was shot by armed robbers after reacting to a robbery case in Luveve suburb, Bulawayo.
“The Commissioner General of Police, Tandabantu Godwin Matanga, expresses his heartfelt condolences to the Madzimure family on the untimely death of Constable Gibson Tafara Madzimure.
“Police will leave no stone unturned until all culprits involved in the death of Constable Madzimure are brought to book,” he said.
In the second shootout of the night, Asst Comm Nyathi said the suspected armed robber, whose name was still being withheld, died in a shootout with police while he was driving an unregistered VW Golf in Bulawayo.
“Police reacted to an attempted robbery where an illegal forex dealer was being tracked by an armed robbery syndicate which had travelled all the way from South Africa.
“Police intercepted the suspects at Unity Village, Corner Joshua Nkomo Street and Sixth Avenue, Bulawayo, and in the process a shootout ensued leading to the death of one of the suspects at the scene.
“The other suspects ran away and the police recovered a Star pistol with 9mm x six rounds of ammunition, CZ pistol with a magazine of 10 rounds and a VW Golf motor vehicle with no number plates,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police have intensified the war on armed robbers in the country.
“There is no going back to the police’s efforts in getting rid of all armed robbery syndicates and ensure that the law takes its course,” he said.
On Saturday, six armed robbers were involved in a shootout with police in Bulawayo and believed to be part of a gang that raided Choppies Parklands Supermarket and Access Finance in the city, getting away with nearly US$300 000 and R1 million.
Police identified the six-armed robbers as Anorld Mpofu alias Tsano (39) and Thamsanqa Mpofu, who were killed on the scene, while Nomore Hove (39), Nkosilathi Ncube (42) were injured. Brian Nkomo (31) and Mthokozisi Moyo (37) make up the rest of those arrested.
The suspected armed robbers were killed during a shootout with police who had cornered them during an attempted robbery at a house in Four Winds suburb in Bulawayo.
Police said the armed robbers also came from South Africa.
The suspects are responsible for two highly organised armed robberies in Bulawayo in March and May this year.
The first one occurred on March 10 at Access Finance Bureau de Change where US$246 682, R947 169, P1 000, EURO 100 and $11 404 cash were stolen and the other case, which occurred on May 27, at Choppies Supermarket Parklands, Bulawayo in which $194 287, US$11 315, R35 595 and P250 cash was stolen.
During the robberies, the suspects disarmed private security guards at Access Finance and Choppies showing how organised they were.
Following an increase in armed robberies, police changed tactics and deployed specialised units to armed robbery hotspots across the country. They also engaged the business community and private security companies as a measure to reverse the increase in armed robberies.