By Takudzwa Mudzimukunze
RUSAPE – Three unknown armed robbers recently got away with a vehicle after they robbed a Rusape man at gun point and took his personal belongings just kilometers away from the town towards Harare.
Manicaland police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda confirmed the incident, the second of its nature within a month and he appealed to motorists to alert the police or relatives when hired by strangers during the night.
Asst Insp Chananda said Emmanuel Mukonyora of NHF 467 Vengere Township was robbed of his Toyota Gaia vehicle registration number ABV8988 at gun point on 3 November at around 3am after the three unknown men had approached him for a lift.
“It is alleged that on 2 November at around 3 am the complainant Emmanuel Mukonyora parked his car outside Cheers Night Club and was approached by three men to accompany them to the toll gate where they said they said there was a breakdown.
“After about 4.5 km from Rusape one of the accused asked to relieve himself and he disembarked from the vehicle this is when the other accused who was seated behind Mukonyora produced a knife and the other accused produced a pistol.
“The accused persons then ordered Mukonyora off the vehicle and took him about thirty metres into the bush where they searched his pockets and took two cellphones, three car chargers and cash amounting to US$60.
“The accused persons tied Mukonyora onto a tree using a seat belt and they drove off towards Harare. The complainant later managed to untangle himself and made a report at Rusape police station.
“As police we want to urge all motorists who are in the business of hiring to notify the police if they are approached by strangers during the night, it is better to pass through the nearest police station so that we can verify the sincerity of such people.
“It is even better to notify close relatives in such instances, in the mean time we appeal to the public to come forward with any information that may lead to the arrest of the accused persons,” said Asst Insp Chananda.
In a related incident Tawanda Mhute (28) lost a mountain bike, US$100 and his cell phone to a gang of robbers who accosted him at the rail crossing towards Vengere Musika in Rusape at around 11pm on November 3.
Ass Insp Chananda confirmed the incident and warned people to desist from travelling alone at night as they risk being attacked by attacked by robbers.
“On November 2 at around 11pm one Tawanda Nyamhute (28) was walking along the Vengere Musika road towards the residential suburbs and as he neared the rail crossing four unknown male accused persons grabbed him and pushed him to the ground and forcibly took his belongings, a cell phone, US$100 and his mountain bike and fled from the scene.
“We urge members of the public to desist from the practice of travelling alone at night as they are susceptible to robbers and thieves who lurk in the night, it is better for people to travel in groups or to stay indoors at night,” said Asst Insp Chananda.
Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda however calmed people’s nerves and told this reporter in an exclusive interview that the police force will be augmenting the ongoing firearms operation and urged members of the public who have legal possession of firearms to secure their weapons at all times.
The Police Spokesperson also appealed to members of the public not to fight back armed robbers single handedly and to comply with them if attacked urging communities to form watch committees to help the police and protect their neighborhoods.
“In the wake of recent robberies the police want to assure members of the public that we are intensifying our ongoing operations and we will be targeting all firearms found in the wrong hands and we urge members of the public to report anyone in illegal possession of fire arms.
“We are also appealing to members of the public in legal possession to secure them according to the act and they should immediately report if the firearm is lost or stolen providing all the relevant information on the license certificate”.
He added, “The fact that we have people in possession of firearms means people are vulnerable and they should form units to guard against people who approach them and in the same breath we also caution members of the public that they should never attempt to fight back because these people shoot to kill,” said Asst Insp Chananda.
These remarks come in the wake of a recent spate of robberies where daring gangs of unknown assailants have been terrorizing business people and families across the province, most notably Nyaradzo Funeral Service Rusape branch where on the 6th of October two gun totting robbers got away with goods and cash worth over US$6000,00.