By Nqobile Tshili / Mashudu Netsianda
Two men who allegedly shot a vendor operating at a gold mine in Maphisa, Matobo district in Matabeleland South before they got away with US$1 400, cellphones and groceries, appeared in court yesterday.
Emmanuel Sibanda and Alex Ncube both aged 28 were arrested last Friday after alert police detectives on patrol observed that the latter had concealed a gun on his waist.
The detectives arrested Ncube who upon interrogation led them to his accomplice.
Sibanda of Spitzkop suburb in Gwanda and Ncube of Kumbudzi village in Mtshabezi appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Marigold Ndlovu facing armed robbery charges.
They were remanded in custody to July 7 and advised to either apply to the High Court for bail or seek consent from the Prosecutor-General.
Prosecuting, Ms Ashley Dube said on June 14 at around 9am, Sibanda and Ncube went to Umzingwane River near Star Mine in Maphisa armed with a Noringo Star pistol and a machete.
The court heard that the two men spotted the complainant who was conducting his vending business along the river.
“The accused persons confronted the complainant and demanded money before they shot him once on the left thigh. They took his wallet containing US$1 400, two cellphones, groceries and two digital scales,” said Ms Dube.
Soon after committing the alleged offence, they fled from the scene leaving the victim lying on the ground in a pool of blood.
A report was made to the police and the victim was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he is still admitted.
The detectives arrested Ncube who upon interrogation led them to his accomplice. When police interrogated the accused persons about the source of the gun, they revealed that it was smuggled from South Africa.
They claimed they bought the firearm for R3000. Police said the duo’s arrest is part of the police’s ramped up efforts to arrest criminals terrorising the country committing armed robbery and burglary cases.
Their arrest follows Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga’s instruction to provincial commanders to deploy special units to armed robbery hotbeds in a bid to eradicate crime. Of late there has been an increase in armed robberies in the country with Bulawayo being the worst affected.
Meanwhile, Sibanda appeared separately before the same magistrate facing a charge of illegal possession of a firearm.
He was remanded to the same date.
Prosecuting, Ms Dube said upon his arrest, Sibanda failed to produce a firearm license leading to his arrest.
He was arrested on June 18 at Manor Hotel leading to the recovery of the pistol, which had no serial numbers. The Chronicle