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Gweru's stranger-than-fiction robbery

by Staff reporter
06 Nov 2023 at 04:45hrs | Views
In the quiet cemetery-like ambiance of the Northlea Suburb in Gweru, during the night, a group of audacious robbers forcefully entered a residence. They corralled the occupants into a corner, rummaged through the refrigerator and pantry, ignited the stoves, and prepared a chicken meal. In an unexpected turn, they even requested spices and hot sauce to enhance the flavor of their impromptu dinner.

As if this audacity weren't enough, the robbers extended the bizarre courtesy of offering the prepared meal to their captives. This surreal scenario is not a script for a crime movie; it's the startling reality of daring criminals who have become the subject of conversation in Gweru City and beyond.

Ms. Blessing Hlahla (52) was jolted awake by a loud and violent crash emanating from the kitchen. Disoriented from sleep, she fumbled for the light switch, only to be met with a brutal slap to the face, sending her tumbling to the ground.

As she writhed in pain, her mind grappled with the blurred line between a dream and a terrifying nightmare. Gogo Hlahla, her grandmother, too, awoke to a harsh reality, punctuated by harsh words, slaps, and kicks.

"Get up and show us your bedroom and the other occupants of this house," the intruders demanded. "Muka tiende kubedroom kwako, unani muno."

Ms. Hlahla swiftly comprehended that her home had been violated, and the intruders were now after her and the others within. She contemplated screaming but quickly realized that it might lead to severe consequences, including violence or even a gunshot, given her uncertainty about their level of armament.

She was forcibly returned to her room while other robbers scoured the house, looking for additional inhabitants. From her deductions, there were approximately five intruders. However, she was explicitly instructed not to raise her head or make eye contact with her assailants, and she had to answer their barrage of questions promptly to avoid further punishment.

As Ms. Hlahla remained in her bedroom, she was thrown onto her bed and covered with a blanket, all while the robbers demanded money. Her youngest son and the housemaid were also confined to another room, their faces concealed with blankets. The five men, armed with a machete and a knife, had forcibly entered their home.

"We endured hours of torment as these robbers held us captive in our own home," she recounted. "Their audacity was such that they even turned on our stoves and began cooking, boldly asserting their control over the house."

Lucia Nemananga (18), the housemaid, shared that the robbers occasionally entered their room and inquired about spices and other ingredients to improve the taste of the meal they were preparing. Astonishingly, they even offered the hostages food, which they declined.

After indulging in their meal, which included chicken and some found spices, the suspects turned violent, demanding more money from Ms. Hlahla and Nemananga. She handed over $300, but they continued to assault her, hoping for more. The experience was horrifying, and they dared not scream, as threats of violence and death loomed.

The robbers confiscated all their phones, leaving them utterly vulnerable. They only departed around 4 am, leaving the victims locked inside. They absconded with various groceries, including mealie meal and items from the fridge.

It wasn't until the early hours of Wednesday that they were able to seek help. The ordeal had been so terrifying that they hesitated to scream until they had alerted neighbors who had gathered to inquire about the situation.

When The Herald visited the residence, the police were still on the scene gathering information. Ms. Hlahla had been taken to the hospital for treatment.

Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko, the Midlands provincial police spokesperson, confirmed the incident, stating that the suspects had absconded with cash, cellphones, and foodstuffs valued at $2,500. A manhunt for the suspects had been initiated, and they remained at large. Additionally, one of the suspects had attempted to commit a sexual assault but was unsuccessful.

Source - The Herald