By Whinsley Masara
A 24-YEAR-OLD woman from Bulawayo was raped and robbed of a handbag, a cellphone, $30 and forced to transfer $40 on EcoCash at knife point by an unknown man.The suspect is still at large.
The victim, from Pumula East suburb, was attacked at around 7PM on Wednesday in a bushy area after Engen Garage along Masiyephambili Drive in Lobengula West suburb.
A source close to the victim said she boarded a light blue Honda Fit at Nkulumane Complex which drove along Masiyephambili Drive towards Pelandaba suburb.
There were four other passengers in the car.
“The victim advised the driver that she was going to drop at the Number Six robot-controlled intersection as she was on her way to Pumula East suburb,” said the source that preferred anonymity.
The source said the driver, however, drove past the Number Six intersection even when the victim asked him to stop.
“Instead, the driver accelerated and went past Engen Garage along Masiyephambili Drive. He drove for more than 200 metres, turned left and travelled a short distance off Masiyephambili Drive before he stopped and parked.
“Other passengers remained in the car as the driver went out of the car and opened the passenger door where the victim sat. He grabbed her and took her handbag, a Vodafone cellphone and $30 bond notes,” said the source.
The source said the suspect further demanded the victim’s EcoCash pin number and was given a wrong pin number.
“He realised that and became very angry, prompting him to grab a knife that was under the passenger seat and threaten her with it. The victim quickly gave her the correct pin number and he transferred all the money that was in her account.
“He then dragged her by her dress for a short distance away from the car, tripped her to the ground and raped her once. When he was done, the suspect joined his passengers in the car and drove away,” added the source.
The victim walked towards Number six intersection and on the way she met a man to whom she related her ordeal.
“He gave her 50 cents for transport to her home in Pumula East. Her uncle accompanied her to the police station to make a report.”
Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango said police were hunting the suspect who was still at large.
She warned members of the public against boarding private vehicles, emphasising that they use only public registered transport such as commuter omnibuses and well labelled taxis.
“We have always warned people against the use of private vehicles. The pirate and usually unregistered private vehicles are the biggest perpetrators of crime and so people should not risk their lives.
“People should move in groups if travelling at night to avoid being targets. We appeal to members of the public who may have information about the whereabouts of the suspects to contact their nearest police station,” Chief Insp Simango said. The Chronicle.