By Nqobile Tshili
Police in Bulawayo are hunting three men who allegedly assaulted, kidnapped and gang-raped a woman who was with her boyfriend before escaping in their victims’ vehicle, which they used to commit other crimes.
The carjacking incident happened in Cowdray Park suburb near TM Shopping Centre on Saturday night. The trio allegedly smashed the windscreen of their victims’ Nissan Drift with an axe before using the same weapon to attack the male victim on the forehead.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango urged couples to desist from meeting in secluded places, saying that exposed them to criminals.
Insp Simango said the lady was gang-raped by the trio.
“After attacking the boyfriend they forced him into the back seat of the car before driving away to a place near Norwood plots. That’s where they stopped the car and took turns to rape the woman. The three then forced the couple back into the car and drove towards the Victoria Falls-Nyamandlovu Road,” said Insp Simango. She said the three suspects stopped the car and made a U-turn after they encountered a police roadblock.
“When they were approaching Victoria Falls Road they saw a police roadblock, forcing them to a make U-turn back to Cowdray Park. They dumped the couple before driving back into the suburb where they committed other crimes,” she said.
Insp Simango said in Cowdray Park they attacked another woman and robbed her. “They found a woman who was coming from South Africa and was still trying to open a gate in her yard. They attacked her and robbed her of groceries, purse, and other bags.
“The woman screamed awakening her neighbours and she was also heard by police who were on night patrol,” said Insp Simango. She said one of the neighbours managed to take down the vehicle’s registration number.
“They pursued the vehicle together with the police who were on patrol. The suspects drove towards the Nkulumane-Solusi Road where they lost control of the vehicle. The three suspects disembarked and escaped on foot,” she said.
Insp Simango said everything that had been looted was found in the car, suggesting there could be other victims who had not reported to the police.
“All the groceries, cellphones and tablets were found in the car. However, we are still searching for the culprits and members of the public who may have information regarding their whereabouts must come forward,” said Insp Simango.
She said robberies are getting increasingly common in Cowdray Park, adding that cooperation from members of the public was important in arresting a gang that once terrorised residents in the suburb.
In October police arrested Njabulo Mlalazi, 42, from Cowdray Park suburb after he, together with his gang, robbed a couple and forced them to indulge in unprotected sex as they watched. The Chronicle