Two of the five armed robbers who were last week gunned down along Glenara Avenue in Harare, were Zimbabweans, who had acquired South African identity documents.
Taurai Chitapa (36) and Dumisani Mahlangu (45), who stayed in South Africa but used to slip into Zimbabwe for robberies, had acquired foreign citizenship under unclear circumstances.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the development saying police were still trying to establish the true identities of two others, believed to be South Africans.
“Chitapa and Mahlangu are Zimbabweans but they had acquired South African citizenship. The other two who were also shot dead are believed to be South Africans but we are still to establish their true identities,” he said.
Meanwhile, police have launched a manhunt for a notorious armed robber Musa Taj Abdul (alias Musa Mahommed), who escaped unhurt during last week’s shoot-out.
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.
Two of the survivors of the shoot-out — Godfrey Mupamhanga (27) and Prince Zakeo (25) — on Saturday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing nine counts of armed robbery.
They were remanded in custody to April 6.
Police last week said the gang was linked to the nine cases of armed robbery and 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.
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 last 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