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Machete now a weapon of choice for armed robbers

by Staff reporter
17 Jun 2022 at 08:22hrs | Views
THE emergence of machete gangs in Zimbabwe's mining towns has given birth to a new breed of armed robbers who use machetes as a weapon of choice since the broad blade, which is traditionally used as an agricultural tool, is easier to attain than guns, the Officer Commanding Bulawayo Province, Commissioner Patton Mbangwa, has said.

Bulawayo has been plunged into fear as machete-brandishing robbers are on the prowl, injuring and killing people in the city.

Recently Langelihle Dube (53) from Bulawayo's Lobengula West suburb was killed at his home by machete-wielding robbers.

Dube, who ran 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.

In Luveve, Ms Chantelle Malunga, a mother of two, said last month around 15 machete and axe-wielding 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.

In Cowdray Park suburb, a machete gang invaded the home of Mr Mthokozisi Dube and got away with his property.

In Gwabalanda suburb they poisoned two dogs belonging to Mr Mbizo Mpala. They also robbed him of US$5 300, his car, firearm and mobile phones.

In an interview, Bulawayo's top cop, Commissioner Mbangwa, said criminals have realised that a machete has the same effect as a gun — it strikes fear in the victims and renders them powerless — and, as a result, armed robbers have adopted it as a weapon of choice.

"Machetes are the weapon of choice for armed robberies and it's of major concern. There were the notorious Mashurugwis who were terrorising people and these were Amakorokoza.

"So as police we knew that during the rainy season, they would not be able to mine so they would come to the city.

"This is where crimes that involve machetes increase and when the rains subside these crimes also decrease. However, this created another problem where criminals adapted and adopted machetes to commit armed robbery. This is the situation that we have at hand," said Commissioner Mbangwa.

He said police are on top of the situation after having arrested eight men, who were responsible for a spate of home invasions using machetes and axes as weapons.

The men were arrested last week and police this Monday held a press briefing to show the loot that they recovered that was worth around US$100k according to them.

ZRP Bulawayo spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube shows some of the recovered property, mostly television sets and the weapons used during robberies, at the central police station

The suspects were apprehended with the help from tip-offs by members of the public.

Commissioner Mbangwa urged the public not to share information about monies or valuable property they have as in the majority of cases the criminals had information about the goings on at home.

"These ones that are happening in the residential areas, you find that the owners of them are either businesspeople who run shops or tuck shops, or they are money changers.

"It's someone who knows that so-and-so has got some money and then they attack," he said.

"People are also careless to some extent by divulging that they have money. Or someone comes under the pretext of wanting to do a deal of changing money.

Unfortunately, the so-called money changers drive into town and drive back home with their money and they don't have a safe to keep their money. These criminals then follow them home and rob them," he said.

Source - The Chronicle