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SHOCK as serial armed robber on the run for 20 years is granted bail

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |

High Court Judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero has granted Z$5000 bail to Musa Taj Abdul (46), a serial armed robber who was arrested in August and on the wanted list for 20 years.

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.
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.

Taj Abdul was arrested by police in Beitbridge on August 24 and he is accused of masterminding high profile robbery cases reminiscent of the Chidhumo-Masendeke robberies which kept the nation spellbound in the 1990s.

He is alleged to have committed 53 armed robberies and several murder cases.

It has also been reported that Taj Abdul was arrested after several shootouts with the police.

However, Justice Chikowero Monday saw it fit to release him from prison on bail. Chikowero placed Taj Abdul on four bail conditions.

“He deposits RTGS $5000 with the Clerk of Court Harare Magistrates Court.

“He resides at Number 12 Adams Avenue, St Martins Harare until this matter is finalised

“He reports at Sunningdale 2 Police Station every Friday between 6am and 6pm

“He does not interfere with state witnesses,” read the bail ruling.

Tak Abdul was arrested together with seven others, Liberty Mupamhanga (29), Prince Makodza (31), Godfrey Mupamhanga (27), Charles Lundu, Rudolf Kanhanga (29), Innocent Jairos (32), Tapiwa Mangoma (27) who were on police wanted list for high profile armed robbery cases.

An internal police memorandum issued soon after their arrest narrates that the gang was nabbed in a movie style.

The memo also confirmed that the police officers initially failed to locate the gang at the business centre, only managing to do so following a sustained manhunt.

The gang, police said, included a former police officer who had been dismissed from work in 2016 and a serving member of the ZRP.

“On 24 August 2020 information was received to the effect that armed robbers who are wanted at CID Homicide, Harare for outstanding armed robbery cases around Zimbabwe were spotted at Mashavire Shopping Centre Beitbridge

“Acting upon the information a team of detectives, support unit and canine details teamed up and made follow-ups on the information.

“While on follow-ups, further information was obtained to the effect that the accused persons were using a silver BMW motor vehicle registration number AEW 0428. The team went to Mashavire business centre to check for the accused persons but they had left.

“The team of police officers moved around Beitbridge looking for the accused persons’ motor vehicle. The team spotted the accused’s motor vehicle parked at Mashakada Business Centre outside Croc butchery with nobody in the vehicle. The team waited at a distance observing the vehicle.

“After about half an hour a male adult with dreadlocks whom we later knew as Carlington Marasha (also on the police wanted persons list) approached the parked motor vehicle, entered into it.

“He drove it towards Mashavire Area Beitbridge. The team of police officers drove following the motor vehicle until it parked at house number 1184 Dulibadzimu, Beitbridge. The driver then went into the house where police officers followed and pounced on the accused persons,” the memo further reads.

“Upon approaching the house, the accused persons ran in different directions scaling over the durawall and ran away in different directions prompting police officers to fire warning shots and cast police dogs to pursue the accused persons.

“The team of police officers managed to arrest the accused persons. Searches were made and police officers recovered a Noringo Pistol silver in colour with an obliterated serial number and a magazine of 11 live rounds, 19×12 bore gauge live rounds on a webbing belt (bandoleer) placed in a black satchel stashed in a washing basket.

“A pair of number plates AEX 1577 was recovered under the bed. The motor vehicle was also searched and the team of police officers recovered a black face mask (balaclava) stashed in the vehicle boot.

“Further interviews revealed that accused 6 (Rudolf Kanhanga) is a former police officer who was stationed at Masvingo Central Police Protection Unit and was dismissed from the organisation in 2016,” the memo reads.

“The accused persons who were interviewed revealed that accused number 8 (Tapiwa Mangoma) is a serving member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police stationed at ZRP Beitbridge Urban Police Station, Force number 086494P.

“He is the one who had organised the team so that they would rob their intended target at house number 2008 Dulibadzimu Beitbridge. Accused 8 made indications to the police officers at the mentioned targeted house,” reads the memo, according to which a total of five cases of armed robbery are being levelled against them along with other cases.

“Accused 1 to 8 are wanted in connection with the following cases; Mashwede armed robbery, Makoni Shopping Centre armed robbery, Blue Circle armed robbery, Glen Norah B safe armed robbery, Marlborough shoot out, murder and many other armed robbery cases around Zimbabwe,” the memo says.

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