INDIVIDUALS and businesses lost large sums of money as 2021 saw an upsurge in gun-related crimes.
In his Unity Day message, President Emmerson Mnangagwa warned armed robbers that the net is closing in on them.
“Lately, we have witnessed an upsurge in gun-related crimes. There is a clear upsurge in the abuse of firearms, including violent armed robberies.
“The government now treats this as a grave threat to personal and National Security. Decisive measures have now become necessary to put an end to this growing menace that threatens our otherwise peaceful, law-abiding Nation and citizenry. Those who dabble in arms will soon fall by the sword. Let them be warned,” said the President.
The year started on a bad note with US$2.7 million vanishing in dramatic fashion at Gwebi River along Harare-Chinhoyi highway.
Three security guards allegedly connived with six armed robbers to steal the money that was in transit on the 6th of January.
It is alleged that the three security guards were tasked to deliver the money to various ZB bank branches around the country. The love of money, however, saw the quartet conniving with armed robbers in a rehearsed robbery.
It is alleged that the suspects Nomatter Jonga, Mathew Simango and Fanuel Musakwa surrendered their pistol and rifle before driving their Toyota Hilux for about 900 metres, where the gang offloaded the cash boxes into the Isuzu, which then drove off.
Some of the money had since been recovered while the accused are still languishing in prison.
Another cash-in-transit robbery occurred along the Harare – Bulawayo highway in which nearly US$335 000 was stolen.
Fawcett Security Company guards claimed they had been robbed at a fake police roadblock between Connemara Open Prison and Hunter Road Shopping Centre.
Investigations by the police, however, revealed that the robbery was an inside job masterminded by Bongani Mpofu who conspired with notorious suspects Sibusiso Ngwenya, Mandla Ncube, Nqobile Moyo, Khumbulani Nyathi and the other one only identified as King” to rob their workplace.
Bus operators were also not spared, with a Zambia-bound CAG bus being robbed along with the Harare-Chirundu high, while passengers were stripped nak_ed before the robbers walked away with goods worth US$20 000.
Currently, the Zimbabwe Republic Police have launched a manhunt for suspects who vanished with US$51 000 after they stormed a service station in Karoi on the 26th of this month.
According to the police, four unidentified men attacked the manager, his family, security and took away US$51 500 cash and a VW Golf vehicle.
The year also saw police arresting seven dangerous criminals in separate incidents.
The gang is believed to be behind a spate of armed robbery cases committed in and around Harare in which more than US$250 000 cash is believed to have been stolen.
The suspects include Richard Mutanga, Zvidozvashe Zuda, Peter Mushipe, Valentine Mutasa and Decide Rice who have since appeared in court while the other suspect Benjamin Craig Musasa died in the shootout with the police.
Two of the country’s serial armed robbers, Spicer Takawira and Musafare Mupamhanga who were wanted for committing a spate of armed robberies, housebreakings and theft in and around Harare were also arrested after a shootout with the details in Glen View 7, Harare in June.