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Machete gangs attack mines, shops

By Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu

Three robbers armed with machetes invaded a grocery shop at Empandeni in Mangwe District and demanded cash from the owner before looting groceries whose value is yet to be ascertained.

File picture of machetes seized by police
File picture of machetes seized by police

Matabeleland South acting provincial police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena said the suspects, who are still at large invaded Mr Mxolisi Sibanda’s shop at about 1am last Tuesday while he was sleeping in a back room with his wife.

She said the trio demanded cash from Mr Sibanda who gave them R150 and $50 and they went on to loot groceries before disappearing into the darkness.

“I can confirm that we recorded a robbery case which occurred at Empandeni area in Mangwe. Mr Mxolisi Sibanda and his wife were sleeping in their bedroom which is behind their shop when they heard gunshots at around 1am.

“Mr Sibanda went outside to check and met the three accused persons who were armed with machetes. They ordered Mr Sibanda to go back into the shop and he complied. The trio demanded cash from Mr Sibanda who indicated that he only had R150 and $50 and he handed it over to them.

“Two of the suspects started loading groceries into three sacks while their accomplice guarded Mr Sibanda and his wife. They then fled into the darkness,’’ she said.

Insp Mangena said investigations were underway and appealed to members of the public with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact the police.

In another case, three machete-wielding robbers have been arrested while their four accomplices are still at large after they allegedly attacked miners and villagers in Collen Bawn and left with R25 000, $1 200, gold among other property.

Philani Ndlovu (30) from Nkayi, Erick Sibanda (27) and Brighton Nyathi (24) both from Gwanda were not asked to plead when they appeared before Gwanda magistrate, Mrs Nomagugu Sibanda facing six counts of robbery. They were remanded in custody to Tuesday.

Prosecuting, Miss Faith Mutukwa said the gang which was armed with machetes, axes, knobkerries, catapults and stones invaded two mines and a store in Collen Bawn.

“On 6 February at around 12 midnight the accused persons who were in the company of four others who are still at large were armed with machetes, axes, knobkerries, catapults, and stones went to Cleveland Mine in Collen Bawn and attacked Mr William Dhliwayo while he was sleeping in a makeshift tent.

“They struck him four times with a machete on the head demanding cash until he lost consciousness. They took $1 140, a pocket digital scale, 2,6 grammes of gold, two solar panels and an Ecco solar battery before fleeing the scene. They left the complainant lying unconscious and fled,” she said.

Miss Mutukwa said on 7 February at about 1am the gang went to Mr Mqondisi Maphala’s house in Dubane, Collen Bawn struck him with a machete before fleeing with R8 400, $50, a pair of trousers, a solar panel, battery, amplifier and three cellphones.

Miss Mutukwa said on 9 February at about 2am the gang went to Bushpark Mine in Collen Bawn and went into a tent where Mr Brian Mpanga and Mr Khulekani Zhou were sleeping. They threatened to kill them and demanded cash. Miss Mutukwa said the gang left with two cellphones.

“On 10 February at around 2am the gang went to Mkombedzi Store which belongs to Mr Thamsanqa Khanye while armed with axes, machetes, knobkerries and stones. They forced open a locked door using a crow bar and gained entry.

“They struck the complainant with a machete on the back and demanded cash. They took R17 000, two cellphones and a 26-inch Ecco television. They also threatened to kill Ms Pamela Tshuma who stays with Mr Khanye and they took her cellphone before fleeing the scene,” she said. The Sunday News

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