Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Kombi crew ‘kidnaps, beats up cop’

By Mashudu Netsianda

A BULAWAYO kombi driver and a tout allegedly kidnapped a policeman and drove around the city as they assaulted him before robbing him of his cellphone, a court heard yesterday.

Tonderai Chikwenje and Dumisani Sibanda
Tonderai Chikwenje and Dumisani Sibanda

Bulawayo regional magistrate Crispen Mberewere heard this when Dumisani Sibanda, 25, a kombi driver and Tonderai Chikwenje, 27, a tout both from Gwabalanda appeared before him on a charge of kidnapping.

Sibanda and Chikwenje were remanded out of custody to August 13 for continuation of trial.

Prosecuting, Tinashe Dzipe told how on March 25 shortly after 11PM, Matthew Mariwa, a policeman, was patrolling with colleagues when they spotted Sibanda and Chikwenje’s kombi parked at an undesignated loading bay at the intersection of 6TH Avenue and Lobengula Street.

“Mariwa approached Sibanda and Chikwenje and entered their car, a Toyota Hiace. He told the two accused persons that they were under arrest for loading passengers in an undesignated area,” said Dzipe.

The court was told that Sibanda started the vehicle and sped off along Victoria Falls Road towards Amakhosi Cultural Centre.

“The accused told Mariwa that they were going to deal with him before they sped off with him. Chikwenje and another accomplice only identified as Sigubhu who is still at large, started assaulting Mariwa with fists and head-butted him as they drove towards Amakhosi Cultural Centre. They also took his Nokia cellphone,” said Dzipe.

Mariwa sustained bruises and he had to be taken to hospital for treatment.

Admire Mutizwa, a policeman who was together with Mariwa during the patrol, hired a taxi and followed the kombi and found it parked near Amakhosi.

“On realising that we were following them, the accused persons left Amakhosi and drove off along Luveve Road and we continued pursuing them in a hired taxi until we reached a house in Luveve where the accused dumped Mariwa and fled,” Mutizwa testified.

Mariwa and Mutizwa went to the police station where they filed a report. Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Vehicle Theft Squad tracked down the kombi leading to the arrest of the pair.

The two deny the charge.

“We had just come from buying car parts when Mariwa found us inside our vehicle. We were just about to leave when Mariwa jumped into the kombi and ordered us to drive to the police station, saying we were under arrest for loading in an undesignated area.

“We then asked Mariwa to produce his police identification card and he refused. We then drove towards Amakhosi thinking we would find police officers at a place where they usually mount a roadblock so that we could verify whether Mariwa was indeed a genuine police officer,” said Chikwenje.

Sibanda further argued: “We did not kidnap Mariwa. In fact, when we found that there was no roadblock that is when we decided to drive further to Luveve to inform the owner of the kombi. Surprisingly on disembarking from the kombi at the owner’s house that is when Mutizwa also arrived in a taxi and he teamed up with Mariwa and they started assaulting us.” Chronicle