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Roman Catholic Priest fires gun in church

by Erick Matotoba
21 Jun 2024 at 07:13hrs | Views
A Bulawayo man suspected to be part of a gang of robbers that has terrorised Roman Catholic churches in the city was reportedly sold out by a priest's finger ring that was stolen in one of the churches.

Sources said a member of the church in New Magwegwe spotted the special ring wrapped strangely on the finger of a young man in the suburb and alerted others, leading to the arrest of some of the robbers who have since appeared in court.

It has emerged that Roman Catholic churches have since last year been a target of robberies in the city with 22 churches being robbed of cash, laptops and cellphones, among other items. Last week, four suspected armed robbers, Mthulisi Ncube, Bernard Mudimba, Lucky Sibanda and Phathisani Ncube were arrested for allegedly robbing two Roman Catholic churches. They appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate Collet Ncube facing three counts of armed robbery. They, however, pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Following the arrest, which was carried out by the police's Homicide Section, Archbishop Alex Thomas of the Bulawayo Diocese said the church heaved a sigh of relief after the arrest of some of the suspects.

"We were worried because 22 churches were robbed recently. When the robbers got to those churches they attacked our church priests before stealing cash and electrical gadgets that ranged from cellphones to laptops. We reported all the cases to the police and we are happy because four robbers were arrested and we recovered some of the stolen items."

The Archbishop said following the spate of robberies which plunged their churches, they engaged police.

"We held three meetings with police to express our concern about the robberies which targeted our churches and put our lives at risk. Police advised us to beef up our security in all churches and we have done that," he said.

The Archbishop said the community and the police have joined hands to provide security for the churches.

"We have engaged Neighbourhood Watch Committee Members and ZRP to patrol and guard our churches. The arrangement has worked well and there are other security measures that we have implemented," he said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday at around 4am, suspected robbers struck at the Roman Catholic Church known as Christ the King Parish situated in Hillside suburb.

Describing the incident, a source said: "A robber smashed a kitchen window and entered through the window. While he was trying to open the door with an iron bar the resident priest heard the noise and walked to the door and fired a warning shot, forcing the robber to run away before he could take anything."

Archbishop Thomas confirmed the incident: "This is a worrying sign that the robbers are back to carry out robberies at our churches. We hope the police will thoroughly do their investigations and arrest the suspects."

Source - Erick Matotoba