By Nqobile Tshili
National University of Science and Technology (Nust) students are increasingly becoming targets for robbers who mug them and break into their homes stealing their laptops among other valuables.
Nust Student Representative Council (SRC) president Mr Pablo Chimusoro said mugging and burglary cases increase as students prepare for examinations.
Nust end of year examinations started yesterday.
“The muggings and robberies increase particularly during the examination period. I know three cases that occurred in the past two weeks,” said Mr Chimusoro.
He said on Friday students voiced their concerns to the police who promised to increase their visibility in suburbs surrounding Nust.
Bulawayo province deputy police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Abednigo Ncube said police will step up their patrols to address students concerns.
He said although the situation was not out of control, the police want to weed out the criminals as robbing students of their learning aids could spell disaster for them.
“We believe the situation has not reached alarming levels but one robbery case for a student is just one too many and a cause for concern. Imagine if a student loses a laptop with all the data they want to use for their studies. It’s a great loss for the student and the parent so each case is a serious cause for concern,” Asst Insp Ncube said.
Police, he said, have also interacted with Nust students and concluded that some of their behaviour attracts criminals.
“Some of the mugging or robberies happen because students go to study on campus as groups but as they knock off around 11PM, they leave as individuals. Some of them will be carrying laptops and even operating their cellphones, thereby attracting robbers. In their rented rooms, they even write on the door that there is a Nust student. Such behaviour can lead criminals to target them,” said Asst Insp Ncube.
He said to curb some of the incidents police will increase their patrols in the suburbs while urging students to travel in groups to and from studies.
Students who stay off campus are targeted by robbers and muggers who attack them as they return from studying at the university at night.
Due to a shortage of accommodation at Nust, students are forced to rent rooms in suburbs close to the institution.
In February police arrested a five-man gang for allegedly robbing two Nust students and stealing their cellphones and valuables worth $220. The Chronicle