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US$100k property recovered as cops raid Bulawayo machete gang

by Staff reporter
14 Jun 2022 at 06:35hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents say they are now afraid to sleep at night because of machete-brandishing robbers who have injured and killed people in the city.

Last week, Langelihle Dube (53) from Bulawayo's Lobengula West suburb was killed at his home by machete wielding robbers. Dube, who runs a tuck shop at his home and car park in the same suburb, was attacked by four suspected robbers who were armed with a machete. He sustained thigh and head injuries.

Police in Bulawayo yesterday said they have arrested eight machete-armed robbers, who have been terrorising residents in different neighbourhoods.

Household goods such as flat screen televisions, solar batteries, car batteries, fridges, fans, rugs, gas stoves and tanks, speakers, radios and cars, which according to Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube were worth around US$100 000, were recovered.

Some of the goods were shown to the Press during a briefing at Bulawayo Central Police Station.

The weapons such as machetes, swords, knobkerries, hacksaws, bolt cutters, a golf stick and butcher knives that police said the gang used, were also on display.

Insp Ncube commended members of the public for providing information that led to the arrest of the eight.

Bulawayo Central Police Station

The eight are, Selby Nkala (38) of Magwegwe North, Reason Gumede (33) of Nketa 9, Prince Ndlovu (24) of Old Lobengula, Atkins Manhizwa (24) of Old Lobengula, Derrick Ndlovu (24) of Old Lobengula, Casimio Mazwiamahle (34) of Emganwini, Kelvin Njabulo (30) of Pumula South and Ngonizashe Manyaya (34) of Nkulumane.

Insp Ncube said five more armed robbers are still at large and the net is closing in on them.

"Last week we carried out some vigorous campaigns calling upon members of the public to provide information. Our members of CID Homicide received information which was meticulously followed, that led to the arrest of eight out of 13 suspects, recovering two motor vehicles and three firearms, one which was stolen by means of robbery. The arrested are set to appear in court soon.

"We have noticed that all the arrested are resident in Bulawayo. Some were arrested in Pumula, Cowdray Park, Mzilikazi and Lobengula," said Insp Ncube.

Narrating their ordeal at the police station, before an identification parade, some of the victims said they were living in fear.

In Luveve, Ms Chantelle Malunga, a mother of two, said last month around 15 machete and axe-waving men broke down her door during a night when there was no electricity in their neighbourhood. One of her children is late hip-hop artiste Cal_Vin's daughter Chloe.

"I saw the front door fall to the floor from the hinges and people running in. Four ran into the lounge and held my father to the ground, the other three came for me and made me kneel, the other two ran into the kitchen, the other three into the bedrooms. There were a lot of them," said Ms Malunga.

"We didn't know what to do and we let them take everything that they wanted from the tvs, our phones, they even folded our rugs. They even started choosing clothes and shoes.

"They asked us if we had money, of which we replied we had none, and then if we had a gun we said we didn't. That night was so horrible for us as there was no electricity. They had flashlights around their heads. Some had small axes and others machetes. There were so many of them, you couldn't scream or do anything."

Ms Malunga said the next day, neighbours comforted her family saying the robbers would not return.

Unfortunately, two days later, Ms Malunga said the armed robbers struck two houses down from theirs, around about the same time using the same method.

She said the family has moved out of their house in Luveve.

"We moved because we fear for our lives and I have two small children. We couldn't stay there as it was traumatic. Now we have reached the point that we get home before six, close the doors and windows. I was speaking to a lady from Nketa who said she also wants to be at home by five after being robbed. She said her child hid behind a washing machine," said Ms Malunga.

Mr Mthokozisi Dube of Cowdray Park narrated how the machete gang invaded their home on Wednesday last week.

"The armed robbers entered my house and went straight to the three bedrooms. They entered one of them where my daughter was sleeping and dragged her out. They ordered us to gather in one place. They demanded our phones and I handed over money that I had. They said if they find any more money they would kill us. One of the robbers asked if I had a gun and I said I didn't.

"They spent about 20 to 30 minutes, ransacking the house, loading the property into my car. One of them tripped the electricity and I don't know how and they left. They failed to start my car, and there was another car that came and they loaded the property into it," said Mr Dube.

He said as a family they were traumatised.

"The experience was so bad, my children were and still are traumatised, because they stabbed me. I was bleeding and the house was smeared in my blood. My children started going to school. At night, we are terrified as now we sleep early and wake up around midnight so that at least if we hear something we can alert neighbours or the police," said Mr Dube.

"I reported the crime to a nearby police post and they came to do some investigations and take statements. After they left, about 30 to 40 minutes later, members of the CID came to my house and they said the people who raided our house had killed someone in Lobengula."

Mr Dube said efforts to have a neighbourhood watch committee were futile.

"We tried to organise a neighbourhood watch committee but there were no takers. We were about six or seven, and because of that we ended up stopping as there were no people participating. However, residents have been coming to comfort us as a family," said Mr Dube.

Mr Mbizo Mpala of Gwabalanda suburb said the armed robbers poisoned his two dogs.

"I thought I heard a noise and I woke up later. I opened the door to investigate and that was the same time that they rushed into my house.

"They demanded money and took all our phones and US$5 300 and my firearm and my car. They killed my two dogs and I think they poisoned them as there were meatballs in the backyard," said Mr Mpala.

"They took my car and left it in Magwegwe West along with my firearm. I haven't recovered anything besides that car. We are living in fear, and I don't feel at ease when I'm away from home as my family is traumatised. Before my attack, I had heard a lot of people who have been robbed by this machete gang from Magwegwe, Lobengula."

Like Mr Dube, Mr Mpala said organising the neighbourhood watch committee was a futile exercise.

"We tried organising a neighbourhood watch in Gwabalanda, but there are some who believe they have nothing to lose. They say even if the armed robbers attack them at home, they have nothing worth taking. We tried collecting US$1 per household so that we hire some people to patrol, but out of a community of 200 only about seven will pay. You can't force people," said Mr Mpala.

Source - The Chronicle
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