By Abel Zhakata
MUTARE residents are living in fear of a lone AK-47 assault rifle-wielding armed robber who is on a wanton robbing spree of businesses in the eastern border city.
Last Saturday, night shoppers at Boka Shopping Centre in Dangamvura high-density suburb had to scurry for cover after the robber pounced at Huruyadzo Shop at around 8.30pm.
This is the third robbery by the same suspect since the beginning of the year, who used the same modus operandi to hit two shops in Chikanga high-density suburb.
In the latest heist, two shots were fired during the robbery as the criminal demanded cash from shop attendants. Shoppers who were caught unawares said they were ordered to lie down soon after the deafening sound of the fired first shot left them quaking in their shoes.
“I was about to buy a loaf of bread when the robber got into the shop. He fired one shot and told us to lie down. He then moved to the counter and took the day’s takings. As he was leaving, he fired another shot in the air to disperse the crowd that was now attacking him with stones. He disappeared into the darkness,” said a witness who requested not to be named.
Officer Commanding Mutare District Chief Superintendent Winston Muzah said a reaction team had been set up to track the robber.
“We already have a reaction team whose task is to apprehend this robber who is causing trouble in the community. My plea to members of the public is that they should quickly report to the police if they see the suspect. What I can assure you is that if we get any slight tip-off, we will be there in no time.
“This robber is a dangerous criminal and we want to nab him before he kills people. The robbery is so traumatising. An armed man, whether trained on not, is difficult to confront, so I urge the public to contact the police for swift reaction,” he said.
The robber allegedly stole $700.
“At least two shots were fired during the robbery, but no one was injured. The shop lost $700. We are urging shop owners to remove cash regularly before sunset.
“Bank your money in good times in order to minimise losses you might encounter in the event of a robbery. Businesses should also adhere to operating times because if you become a lone operator at night, you will be robbed,” he said.
Some few weeks ago, the robber pounced on shops in Chikanga on two different occasions. In one of the incidences, he pumped four bullets into the stomach of a shopper who had tried to effect a citizen’s arrest.
Chief Supt Muzah also said cases of unlawful entry and burglary had increased recently. He attributed this to the freeing of some convicts through the Presidential pardon.
“A good number of convicts who were freed are now back to their old ways. Cases of unlawful entry have increased. We shall arrest them and put them back behind bars. This time they will get harsher sentences.” Manica Post