By Thupeyo Muleya
A soldier and a police officer who allegedly teamed up with four others who are still at large to rob a Beitbridge man of 30 boxes of export quality cigarettes worth R95 000 appeared in court yesterday charged with armed robbery.
Corporal History Sibanda (One Commando) and Constable Shepherd Gatsi of Support Unit Chikurubi and a civilian Derek Mudau of Dumba in Beitbridge are alleged to have committed the offence in the company of another soldier and four civilians who are still at large in Dumba on January 19.
The soldier and police officer are part of a team recently deployed to the border to curb criminal activities.
The gang is also accused of robbing another man in Dulivhadzimu of R6 200.
Sibanda, Gatsi and Mudau were not asked to plead when they apppeard before Beitbridge resident magistrate Mr Toindepi Zhou who remanded them in custody to March 2.
The police are reported to be pursuing four others including another soldier from the One Commando Regiment.
Prosecuting, Mr Manyonga Kuvarega said on Janiary 19, the suspects pounced on Banaboy Mabvugwa of Elliot Mutavhatsindi homestead in Dumba while in uniform and armed with AK47 rifles.
The court heard that upon arrival at the complainant’s homestead, one of the soldiers broke the door of the room where Mabvugwa was sleeping.
The soldier entered the room flashing the victim with a torch and ordering him to remain still and not to make any noise to alert neighbours.
During that time his accomplices ransacked the house and tied four occupants together with shoe laces.
The state further alleges that four other civilians arrived at the scene driving a Nissan Atlas truck white in colour and loaded 30 boxes of Express Royal Cigarettes worth R95 000 and all the suspects disappeared.
When the gang had left, Mabvugwa managed to go outside the house and called for help from neighbours who then untied the family members.
A report was then made to the police.
After committing the offence, the gang allegedly went to Beitbridge town and hid the loot at an unfinished building at Shule Shule Business Centre in Kwalu 1 Suburb.
They then engaged one Isheunesu Chimwaro to look for cigarette buyers, who in turn sold 20 boxes the following day for R30 000 and the money was collected by one of their accomplices who is still at large.
Later that day, Sibanda in the company of one of his two co-accused persons who are on the run went to Chimwaro and accused him of giving the loot money to a wrong person, and robbed him of his ZAR6 200 and went away.
It is further alleged that Sibanda kept nagging Chimwaro for another payment of R8 800 until his arrest by the police together with Gatsi and Mudau. The Chronicle