By Nyore Madzianike and Freeman Razemba
A suspected notorious armed robber, who is part of a gang led by Musa Taj Abdul, is nursing wounds at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare after being shot by police while attempting to flee.
Musafare Mupamhanga, who was on bail was arrested along with other suspected armed robbers, Spicer Takawira, Leo Mandaza, Chamunorwa Takawira, Joseph Chinhema, Newman Watsikwa and James Nyakutsikwa.
His suspected colleagues, Spicer Takawira, Mandaza, Chamunorwa Takawira, Chinhema, Watsikwa and Nyakutsikwa appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday charged with robbery, unlawful entry into premises in aggravated circumstances and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Mupamhanga who was shot on the left leg during his arrest is under police guard in hospital.
They were not asked to plead to the charges when they appeared before magistrate, Mr Dennis Mangosi, who remanded them in custody to June 14.
Mr Mangosi advised them to approach the High Court for bail application.
The State led by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti had it that on June 1 at around midnight Mupamhanga teamed up with Chamunorwa Takawira, Mandaza, Spicer Takawira and Nyakutsikwa and went to Tech Centre located at Montagu Shops in Harare’s Avenues Area.
They forced open the shop’s doors and stole a safe containing US$3 963 and $16 350 and various cellphones all valued at $1 021 229.
Police recovered property valued at $13 390.
On June 4, Mupamhanga led his gang to Rusape where they went to Prosper Mudoweti’s place of residence in Silverbow and forced open the doors and gained entry at around midnight.
One of them is alleged to have awakened Mudoweti and his wife at gunpoint and demanded cash.
It is said that Mudoweti led two members of the gang to his car which was parked outside and handed them US$500.
The court heard that the gang force-marched Mudoweti back into the house where they demanded cellphones, laptops and other valuables.
They also allegedly took keys to his Lexus and Mercedes Benz vehicles before locking Mudoweti and his wife in the toilet and drove off.
On the following day, Mupamhanga teamed up with Chamunorwa Takawira and Leo Mandaza and went to Happiness Jenami’s shop at Kuwadzana 6 Complex in Harare.
It is said that they stole 1 500 braids and weaves which they loaded into their Toyota Wish vehicle.
Acting on a tip-off, detectives arrested Mandaza who led them to a car park in Glen View 7 where Mupamhanga and Chamunorwa Takawira were arrested.
This led to the recovery of 900 packets of braids and weaves from a house in Egypt, Highfield, Harare.
On January 14 this year, Spicer Takawira and Chamunorwa Takawira went to Petzim Service Station in Highfield where they asked a security guard if there was fuel. Before he replied, one of them is said to have pulled a pistol and pointed it at him before force-marching him to the office where they forcefully opened the door with iron bars.
The two allegedly stole a medical kit, generator battery and attempted to break the money safe, but failed.
They then went to a nearby shop where they stole 15 car batteries. The court heard that on May 27 at around 1am, Chinhema, Watsikwa, Nyakutsikwa, Spicer Takawira, Mandaza and Takawira went to MCH Service Station in Southlea Park, Harare.
Upon arrival, they manhandled the security guard, Maxwell Nyemudzai, and went on to break into the office where a fuel attendant Tinei Makuwa was asleep.
They threatened to kill them, and out of fear, Makuwa handed them US$150 and they stole four 5 litre bottles of engine oil, 20x500ml engine oil, 12 batteries and damaged a television set.
It is said they also destroyed surveillance cameras.
Upon their arrest, the suspected robbers led detectives to Chinhemba’s residence in Houghton Park, Harare, where a pistol and seven live rounds of ammunition were recovered.
Takawira and Mupamhanga were two of the country’s most serial armed robbers, before their arrest at the weekend following a shoot-out with police.
They were recently released from jail on bail pending appeal at the High Court, but went into hiding and it is suspected they committed more crimes.
Together with Conwell Kasambarare, they are alleged to be part of the gang that raided Mashwede Holdings last year and got away with over US$100 000, R42 000, $14 000 worth of fuel coupons, firearms and 20 live rounds of ammunition.
Police say on June 2 at around 1.30am, suspects and others who are still at large hatched a plan to steal from a shop where they broke the doors to gain entry and stole several Itel, Tecno, and Samsung cellphones and accessories.
On June 3, detectives from CID Stores and Business made a follow up leading to the arrest of Takawira in Chikwanha Area, Chitungwiza.
He was interviewed and revealed that they had come from Rusape where they committed an armed robbery whilst in the company of his other six accomplices.
A follow up was made leading to the arrest of Nyakutsikwa along 7th Avenue in Mbare National. He was searched leading to the recovery of a Tecno cellphone inside his pocket.
Takawira led to the arrest of Watsikwa at Boka Auction Floors. He was interviewed in connection with the firearm and he revealed that the firearm was possessed by Chinhemba who was also arrested.
Searches were carried inside his bedroom leading to the recovery of a Star pistol with a magazine loaded with seven live rounds.
Chinhemba was interviewed and stated that he acquired the firearm from someone only known as Caddy who is based in Chiredzi.
Last Friday, a team comprising detectives from CID Homicide Harare and CID Stores and Business Harare further interviewed the suspects who revealed that they also wanted to commit an armed robbery at a certain Service Station in Mbare. The Herald