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9 robbers shot as cops name 20 most wanted criminals

by Staff reporter
17 Dec 2023 at 09:42hrs | Views
NINE suspected robbers sustained injuries after they were shot by police in Harare on Thursday in a crackdown, while the hunt is on for 20 suspects whom detectives have named as Zimbabwe's most wanted criminals.

Misheck Takawira Njowa (24), Jonas Daniel Mubaiwa (22), Shadreck Njowa (20), Job Nyashadzaishe Njowa (26), Cloudious Pemberengwa (39), Shepherd Magorimbo (30), Sydney Takavada (40), John Amon Ndlovu (34) and Godwin Chawaguta allegedly committed a spate of robberies in and around Harare from October last year up to last Wednesday.

Some of them were admitted to hospital after being shot while attempting to flee.

The nine are expected to appear in court soon.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said on Wednesday, detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Vehicle

Theft Squad got a tip-off that Misheck and Shadreck Njowa, and Mubaiwa were linked to an incident that had taken place earlier in the day, in which a taxi driver lost a vehicle to people who had hired him from the city centre to Southerton.

Detectives arrested some of the suspects in Dongo Village, Neshangwe, Sadza, leading to the recovery of the stolen vehicle, an AK assault rifle and other materials linked to crime.

The suspects named their colleagues, who were later arrested.

The following day, the nine led detectives to a bushy area on James Martin Avenue in Lochinvar, where they had hidden some firearms.

Police said on arrival at the scene, the suspects started running away, resulting in each of them being shot on the knee.

Asst Comm Nyathi said: "The Zimbabwe Republic Police has intensified operations targeting criminal syndicates around the country. The police assure the public that it will account for all criminals and that the law takes its course. Any form of confrontation with the police officers will be met with the appropriate response."

Most wanted

Notorious suspected armed robber Leonard Huni, who is understood to be aged 39 and residing in South Africa, is topping the list of over 20 most wanted criminals.

Huni skipped bail on other armed robbery charges in 2019 and is understood to have proceeded to commit more crimes.

Police believe he escaped in February this year, when his accomplice, the convicted Mhikiya Pirikisi, who had robbed a foreign currency dealer of US$30 000 and R50 000, was arrested.

Huni is believed to be staying in Louis Trichardt and suspected to be involved in cigarette smuggling.

According to police sources, Huni also escaped a shootout with law-enforcement agents in South Africa, where eight other suspects were shot dead.

Transitional criminals Ishmael Chamunorwa Maoneke and Simbarashe Matanda are also on the list of the most wanted. Police sources believe the two reside in South Africa, but commit crimes in Zimbabwe, targeting illegal money changers and cash-in-transit vans.

Maoneke and Matanda were once arrested and granted bail in 2018.

Police believe Matanda formed a company operating from Cape Town, where he reportedly owns apartments.

Also, Elijah Vumbunu, alias Mupositori; David Sawadye; Israel Zulu; Kudakwashe Mudzingwa, alias Umbro; Takafa Vumbunu, alias Naison Mahembe; Paul Chinake; and Brian Murape are wanted in connection with a spate of robberies countrywide.

They are part of a gang suspected of being behind the raiding of a cash-in-transit van transporting nearly 12kg of gold worth US$675 000 from How Mine to Fidelity Gold Refinery in October last year.

According to police sources, these suspects also targeted financial institutions, money transfer agents, wholesalers and grocery shops.

Two other suspected members of the same gang, Sydney Chimiti (27) and Prince Gawe (25), are wanted in connection with a robbery involving US$49 000, R9 000, $7 000 and a Toyota Mark X from a Harare family, while posing as potential clients for detergents.

The duo allegedly also robbed a Harare businessman of US$59 000 after pretending to be police officers enforcing lockdown regulations.

Also on the list are Alex Tawanda Sithole and Clive Conwell, who allegedly went on a crime spree. They are said to have been involved in up to 100 cases that include robbery or stealing from cars in Bulawayo, Harare and Mutare.

Paul Chinake, alias Pauro; and Lovejoy Chogugudza are wanted over the robbery in Lochinvar, which went viral.

James Nyakutsikwa, Sydney Chimiti, Alex Tawanda Sithole, Maxwell Chidaware, Partson Matengambiri and Tawanda Karasi are also on the most wanted criminals list. They are believed to be behind several heists, including the ZB Bank Harare-Chinhoyi cash-in-transit raid and the Newlands Shopping Centre robbery in Harare.

A high-ranking detective from the CID Homicide Department privy to the investigations called on the public to bring forward tip-offs.

"We will not leave any stone unturned as we thrive to flush out these criminals from our society. We, therefore, urge the public to provide any information that might lead to the arrest of any suspects."

The source said information provided by the public can be crucial in cracking some cases.

"The public should not doubt us. I would like to categorically state that any tip-off supplied to us is acted on. We urge the public to contact the Homicide Department directly on 0242 758031," the top cop said.

Source - The Sunday Mail