By Leonard Ncube
Police in Lupane have arrested a man suspected to be a member of a three-man gang that armed itself with a machete, knife, screw drivers and catapult before unleashing terror on residents whom they robbed of valuables.
Qhubekani Sibanda (23) of Gomoza village who sometimes resided at 6825 Mkhosana in Victoria Falls allegedly committed the crimes in the company of two accomplices, Elvis Ntutha Manzini and another who is yet to be identified. Both are still at large.
The trio allegedly armed themselves with a machete, catapult, knife and two screw drivers.
Sibanda was apprehended by residents who mobilised and ambushed the gang. His two accomplices fled.
Sibanda was not asked to plead to seven counts of robbery when he appeared before Lupane resident magistrate Mr Ndumo Masuku who advised him to approach the High Court for bail.
He was remanded in custody to December 7.
Prosecuting, Mr Clive Gumbo said the trio hatched a plan to rob people and targeted cellphones and cash from those they found on the streets at night.
The complainants are Ms Siphethangani Msipha (22), Mr Shepherd Moyo (22), Mr Mmeli Nkomo (20), Mr Praise Dube (25), Mr Only Nyathi (53), Mr Mugande Dingane (25) and Mr Douglas Sibanda all of Lupane.
“On the 19th day of November at around 9pm, the accused person in the company of two accomplices Elvis Ntutha Manzini and another who is yet to be identified and at large, proceeded to New Stands armed with a machete, catapult, knife and two screw drivers with the intention to commit robberies.
“The accused person met the complainant Ms Msipha who was waiting for her boyfriend at a road near Roman Catholic Church and demanded a cellphone from her and she resisted,” said Mr Gumbo.
He said Sibanda produced a machete and threatened to strike Ms Msipha before slapping her once on the face.
Out of fear she surrendered a Nokia 1 cellphone handset to Sibanda who disappeared into the darkness.
The accused and his alleged accomplices allegedly later met Mr Moyo who was walking home from Lupane Business Centre and demanded cash and a cellphone.
One of the accused persons allegedly struck the complainant with the side of the machete on the abdomen while the other slapped him before grabbing him by the neck. They stole US$5 from him.
The trio allegedly continued ambushing unsuspecting complainants robbing them of cellphone handsets and cash.
Mr Dingane is a teacher at Hilltop Secondary School in Lupane and they robbed him of a cellphone, US$1 and $20 after striking him with the side of the machete three times on the head and once on the ribs.
Mr Douglas Sibanda was walking with a friend along a street when the trio suddenly emerged from the darkness and whipped him with a rope on the chest.
They also snatched a bag which he was carrying and had various valuables.
Lupane Residents Association chairman Mr Permanent Sibanda who had been tipped by Mr Dingane about the robberies mobilised some residents and followed the accused. They caught up with them at Down Store where they were waiting for transport to Bulawayo and apprehended Sibanda while the other two escaped.
They recovered one handset, a machete, catapult and two screw drivers from him while the other stolen property was not recovered. The Chronicle