Patience Mutsiwi and Wynne Zanamwe
Police have arrested five men who were allegedly part of a six-member gang of highway robbers that targeted motorists in Kwekwe and Gokwe, robbing about 34 people in three weeks.
In one incident, the suspects robbed five people in a vehicle of $458 and two cellphones at gunpoint.
In another, they allegedly stopped a commuter omnibus and relieved 11 passengers of $1 300 while armed with a gun and machetes.
During one of their escapades, the gang allegedly robbed a motorist of a Toyota Vitz, $3 532 and four cell phones.
Nkosiyami Makosi Mpofu (33), Zakeo Dube (29), Tarisai Shonhiwa (20), Nkosilathi Nyoni (25) and Mduduzi Dube (23) yesterday appeared before Gokwe Regional Magistrate Mr Solomon Jenya, each facing 34 counts of armed robbery.
Mpofu and Dube of Zhombe, Shonhiwa and Nyoni of Gweru and Dube from Filabusi, who are all not employed, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The sixth man, Darlington Ndlovu (age not given), is still at large.
The magistrate remanded the quintet in custody to November 9 for trial. The state intends to call more than 15 witnesses to testify in the matter.
Prosecutor, Mr Michael Mhene told the court that the five allegedly committed the crimes in July last year. Allegations against the gang are that on July 3, they hatched a plan to rob a taxi driver in Kwekwe.
“They approached a taxi that was parked in the city centre and asked the driver to transport their gold. Along the way they stopped the taxi driver in a bush before they robbed him of a cellphone and $82,” said Mr Mhene.
He said on July 12, they robbed a Kwekwe resident of his Toyota Vitz. On July 14, Mpofu, Dube, Shonhiwa, Nyoni and Zakeo allegedly robbed a soldier who was coming from Battlefields in Kwekwe of his cell phone and $180.
“On July 15, the accused persons approached a complainant who was driving a Toyota Vitz at Chemagora bus stop in Zhombe before robbing the driver and passengers of $458 cash and two cell phones,” Mr Mhene said.
“On July 21, they robbed a taxi driver of $12 and his cell phone. On July 23, they robbed another taxi driver of his cell phone and $150”.
Mr Mhene said for counts 11 to 24, the accused persons armed with a pistol and machetes robbed a commuter omnibus that was at Tiger Riff bus stop in Kwekwe.
The gang demanded cash from about eight passengers who were aboard the commuter omnibus. Mr Mhene said they robbed the passengers and the crew of $1 350.
“For counts 25 to 34, using the same modus operandi as in counts 11 to 24, the accused robbed a commuter omnibus and went away with $1 300,” he said.
A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the accused persons on August 2 this year. Chronicle