A BULAWAYO family was last Friday evening held hostage for two hours by armed robbers who broke into their home in the affluent suburb of Burnside.
Mr Mtsheki Sibanda and his family were traumatised when armed robbers clad in dark clothes and black balaclavas broke into their home at around 8pm demanding money.
Nine armed men robbed the family and tenants of 13 cellphones, two laptops, and cash totalling USD900, R10 830 and ZWL5 500.
During the hostage situation, the robbers assaulted the family’s maid with a hammer first on the forehead and then on the back, resulting in her sustaining serious injuries that required medical attention.
This is the second time in two years that armed robbers have struck at the Sibanda family residence with the first, which is still unsolved occurring in 2019.
A visibly shaken Mr Sibanda narrated his family’s horrific experience to Sunday News at his home.
Mr Sibanda said three robbers got into the house while six remained outside.
“These men arrived at about 8pm in the evening and first broke a window in the kitchen to try and get into the house. They failed and moved on to the next one which leads into a spare bedroom. Here they were trying to rip off the window and its frame.
“I tried to talk to them into not coming into the house suggesting that I would give them all they wanted but they wouldn’t have any of it. Eventually they managed to break into the house and three of them entered through the window. One was armed with a pistol while another was armed with a hammer. It turns out the robber with the hammer was the boss and the other two kept asking him what to do,” he said.
Mr Sibanda said after they got into the house, the robbers threatened to kill everyone if they did not produce money.
“They said they knew we had money, but on that evening all we had was USD500 in the house which we normally keep for emergencies. I told them there was USD500 hidden in the house and after they found it, they insisted that it was not enough and they wanted more.”
The robbers then tied up the whole family using shoe laces and a rope they brought with them.
“They tied up everyone including children as young as five one of whom was so scared that she peed her pants. After interrogating the family for a while demanding more money, they decided that to get the information they want, they should begin to assault each member.
They started with the maid hitting her on the forehead and when they did not get the desired information, they hit her on her back,” said Mr Sibanda.
Fearing for his family’s lives Mr Sibanda told the robbers that all the money they had was used to order stock for his Nkayi shops but they expected a little more from their truck that was coming in from Nkayi.
The robbers decided to wait it out and when the truck arrived, they went outside and hid, but Sibanda’s son who was driving the truck saw them and tried to get into the house.
“The robbers stopped any attempt to resist after they shot into the air, they then took USD375, R10 000 and ZWL5 500 that was in the truck. Eight of the armed robbers spoke in Shona the whole time while the other acted as an interpreter, they seemed to know the layout of the house.
“I think these guys are either the same people who robbed us the last time or are part of that gang. They seemed to know where we sometimes kept the money. Last time we had money in a vase and this time these ones went after the vases first looking for the money,” said Mr Sibanda.
– Sunday News