By Pamela Shumba
Police have launched a manhunt for gun toting robbers who pounced on passengers in a Beitbridge- bound bus from Masvingo on Monday and got away with R10 900, $2 225 (bonds) and cellphones.
The three robbers got onto the bus pretending to be ordinary passengers and when the bus had travelled some distance, one of the robbers shot at the driver’s window and ordered him to stop.
The trio then demanded money and cell phones from the terrified passengers who were on board the Reg Step Bus.
National police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident yesterday, saying the criminals are still at large and nothing has been recovered yet.
“Travellers aboard a Beitbridge-bound bus were robbed on December 31, 2018, at about 4.30PM. One of the passengers approached the driver near Madhamuli turn-off at the 274km peg along Masvingo-Beitbridge highway and drew a pistol before firing at the driver’s window.
“He ordered the driver to stop and together with his two accomplices, who were also passengers in the same bus, they instructed the passengers to look down and moved collecting cash and cellphones from the passengers,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
She said total cash stolen was R10 900 and $2 225 (bonds) and nothing has been recovered. She urged bus crews to be more careful and make sure they record identity particulars of their passengers
“This is the second time that armed criminals have targeted buses in December 2018. Bus crews need to be very alert and employ mechanisms of obtaining identities of persons boarding their buses.
“Police are hunting for these criminals and I would like to appeal to anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of the robbers to contact any nearest police station,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
Cross border traders travelling from different parts of the country to South Africa are being targeted by robbers who know they will be carrying cash to buy goods in the neighbouring country.
On December 16, last year, one person was killed while three others were injured when a Smart bus they were travelling in was attacked by two armed robbers, 10km before Beitbridge town.
Sometime back three buses, Intercape, Intercity and Mzansi carrying Zimbabwean passengers were robbed at gunpoint along the Musina -Johannesburg highway in a space of two days.
Two years ago a robber was shot dead after his weapon discharged as he wrestled with a Zimbabwean passenger, who had refused to hand over cash during a robbery in a Mzansi Tours bus that had stopped at a fuel station in Musina on its way to Johannesburg.
One of the hijackers later shot the passenger on the shoulder as they fled from the scene with R22 100, $80 and cellphones. The Chronicle