By Whinsley Masara
A 29-YEAR-OLD man who is suspected to be part of a seven-man gang that carjacked and killed a taxi driver before robbing an illegal money changer of R30 000 last week, has been arrested.
Emmanuel Mapfumo of Stand No 4 Thornhill Extension, Gutu, was arrested at Eskbank Tollgate along the Harare-Mt Darwin Road while driving the deceased taxi driver’s vehicle.
He was said to be on his way to a church conference with four congregants in the vehicle. Mapfumo and fellow gang members, who are still at large, allegedly killed Cliff Chioza, took away his vehicle and later pounced on Mr Rabson Sibanda in Beitbridge last Tuesday.
A source close to the incident said alert police officers spotted Mapfumo driving the stolen vehicle at the tollgate on Sunday around 3PM.
“When police searched the vehicle, the deceased’s cellphone was recovered and three toy pistols belonging to the trio were also found.
“Mapfumo allegedly admitted to investigators that he was part of the gang that killed the taxi driver and robbed the usiphatheleni,” said the source.
He was immediately arrested.
National police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the arrest.
“I can confirm that we have arrested one of the suspects who killed a taxi driver before robbing an alleged money changer in Beitbridge last week.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment much on the matter as I am in the middle of a meeting,” she said.
Last Tuesday, the trio allegedly killed Chioza and attacked Mr Sibanda.
Seven knife-wielding men attacked Sibanda and stabbed him on the left rib cage during the robbery. He was admitted to Beitbridge District Hospital where he received treatment for the wounds.
It is believed that the gang is part of a syndicate that has descended on Beitbridge, targeting money changers and taxi drivers, mainly those who reside in the town’s western suburbs.
The incident was the sixth armed robbery in the border town in two weeks.
A fortnight ago, four incidents were reported in just two days where two taxi drivers, a money changer and a resident were robbed of valuables by an armed gang on the western part of Beitbridge.
The alleged money changer lost R60 000 and a cell phone worth $300 to four men who pounced on him when he arrived at his home in Mashakada suburb. It is suspected that the robbers followed him from town.
In February, another money changer was attacked by four armed robbers who got away with R8 000 and $750 after assaulting him and firing a shot into the air.
Last Monday, police arrested two suspects who allegedly robbed a Filabusi businessman and were also linked to a spate of armed robberies reported in Matabeleland South.
The suspects, one from Cowdray Park suburb in Bulawayo and the other from Marondera in Mashonaland East, allegedly committed the crimes with two other suspects who are still at large.
The two were arrested in Marondera. The Chronicle