By Freedom Mupanedemo
Police and Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) officials manning a tollgate along the Gweru-Shurugwi Highway scurried for cover when they mistook two armed robbery victims for ghosts after they appeared at the tollgate in the middle of the night stark naked.
July Ncube (50) and David Mapara (30) had just been robbed of all their belongings and stripped at gun point by unknown robbers at a nearby bush when they went to seek help at the tollgate while naked.
“I nearly got paralysed in my cabin seat when I saw two ghostly figures approaching while nude during the dead of the night. I screamed to alert police officers and my colleagues were equally shocked at the sight of the two naked figures.
“We were later to learn they were victims of a robbery case and the robbers had stripped them,” said a Zinara official who witnessed the incident.
Acting police spokesperson for Midlands province Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende confirmed the incident which occurred last Wednesday night.
She said Ncube and Mapara, both of Olympic Mine in Mashava, boarded a Honda Fit in Gweru intending to travel to Mashava, but the occupants of the car robbed them at gun point just outside Gweru.
“July Ncube and David Mapara are both employed at Olympia Mine in Mashava. They boarded an unregistered silver Honda Fit vehicle at Corner 7th Street opposite Cathedral Hall in Gweru intending to go to Mashava. The vehicle had four occupants already including the driver when the two got into it.
“Upon approaching the Gweru-Shurugwi tollgate, the driver turned right while indicating that he was avoiding paying the tollgate fee,” said Asst Insp Mukwende.
She said while in the bush, the driver suddenly stopped the car and his colleague on the front passenger seat drew a pistol and ordered Ncube and Mapara to get out of the car.
“The suspects ordered Ncube and Mapara to lie on the ground while demanding money from them. The suspects then stripped Ncube and Mapara naked.
“Ncube was robbed of $5 cash, a mini Samsung cellphone, power bank, a wallet with bank cards and a driver’s licence, khaki trousers, a black t-shirt and brown shoes he was putting on.
“The suspects also took a jacket, blue sneakers and blue jeans which Mapara was wearing. After robbing them and leaving them naked, the suspects got into their car and drove away,” she said.
Asst Insp Mukwende said the two then went to seek help at the toll gate.
“They were assisted with some clothes and were escorted to Gweru Central Police where a report was made. The value of stolen goods was $820,” said Asst Insp Mukwende.
She warned people against boarding vehicles driven by strangers. The Chronicle