Two soldiers from the Presidential Guard have been arrested after a family was robbed at gunpoint at a farm in Beatrice, Mashonaland East.
Police are also holding a third man, who retired from the same army unit.
Munyaradzi Munyuki, 27, Busani Moyo, 29, and Shadreck Kadira, 33, stole property worth US$2,135 in the robbery on the night of February 28.
Munyuki and Moyo are members of the elite 1st Presidential Guard Battalion, whose duty is to secure President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Kadira left service.
Police said the trio, in connivance with three others, launched a raid on Houmoed Farm where they quickly overpowered Luke Williams, 19, who was relaxed in his bedroom cottage.
After he was tied with shoe laces and had a gun pointed at him, he handed the robbers US$250. The robbers then moved on to the main house where they woke up David George Rickards, 67, and his wife Philliper Rickards, 62.
After threatening to shoot the couple, police say Philliper handed over US$850. The robbers also forced the couple to open the safe which had Z$1,000 in Z$5 notes. The robbers did not take anything.
The alarm was triggered, police say, when one of the robbers tried to switch off the outside lights. That woke up farm workers and the Rickards’ son, Stewart, who called Beatrice police.
The robbers fled, splitting into two groups of three.
Officers tracked their footprints to the Harare-Masvingo Road and observed Munyuki, Moyo and Kadira trying to flag down vehicles heading towards Harare.
Police sourced a private vehicle which stopped for the suspects, before driving towards Harare. A trap had been set at a police roadblock 20km out of Beatrice and the trio was placed under arrest.
Police recovered a bracelet and a knife stolen at the farm. They also recovered US$160, US$172 and US$155 from each of the suspects.
Investigators are on the hunt for the three other suspects only identified as Shumba Murambwi, a Junior and one Kheda.
Armed robberies by Zimbabwe’s poorly-paid soldiers are on the rise. In January, the Zimbabwe National Army issued a statement saying it does not “condone cases of indiscipline and misconduct”, warning soldiers that they would be given “deterrent sentences and discharged from the military with ignominy.”
Armed robberies are also fuelled by Zimbabweans’ distrust of banks, which results in many people keeping large sums of money in their homes.