Notorious gang leader Musa Taj Abdul escapes police shoot-out
By Freeman Razemba and Victor Maphosa
Two of the five armed robbers killed in a shoot-out with police along Glenara Avenue in Harare yesterday were South Africans, while the other three who were captured alive were Zimbabweans; but the gang leader and most wanted suspect, the notorious Musa Taj Abdul (alias Musa Mahommed), managed to escape.
Abdul, who is believed to be the chief architect of a spate of robberies committed in Zimbabwe between August last year and this month, has been on the police wanted list since 1999.
He was initially reported to be among the five dead robbers, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
“Musa Taj Abdul alias Musa Mahommed is not among the arrested or shot gang members. He is still on the police wanted list,’’ said national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi in a statement.
The three dead Zimbabweans have been identified as Dennis Stanley Dube alias Dingola (29), Taurai Chitepo (36) and the other one only identified as Johnson.
Three survivors of the shoot-out — Godfrey Mupamhanga (27), Prince Zakeo (25) and Maxwell Stanley alias Dennis Mateta (25) — were arrested on nine counts of armed robbery and are expected to appear in court today.
Police believe the gang was based in South Africa, just coming north to conduct its Zimbabwean raids.
The South African pair is yet to be identified and the Zimbabwe Republic Police has since asked Interpol to help establish their identities.
Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said investigations were linking the gang to the nine robberies.
“The police have successfully linked the gang to the nine cases of armed robbery. Some of these include the armed robbery which occurred on December 20 last year at Wessel Shop in Msasa, Harare, where they disarmed a security guard and stole a special Amadeo Rossi revolver, $160 000 and an Isuzu KB240 single cab vehicle.
“On February 5 this year, the gang went to Makoni Shopping Centre, Chitungwiza, armed with pistols, an AK47 rifle and robbed unsuspecting complaints of US$19 000, $30 000, cellphones and a Toyota Allion vehicle, which was later found abandoned in Glen View,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
He said on February 26, the gang robbed another person in Harare of US$40 000, jewellery, several pairs of shoes, a laptop, cellphones, a star pistol and Hyundai vehicle.
“The gang proceeded to the victim’s workplace and robbed him of US$227 250 and R28 000 but police have so far recovered US$10 000.
At the scene of the shoot-out on Thursday, police recovered a 9mm CZ pistol, a Star pistol, Bruno pistol, .38 special Amadeo Rossi revolver, FN Browning pistol, 20x9mm rounds of ammunition and 4×7.65mm live rounds. The Herald