The Herald (Harare)

25 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Armed Robbers Terrorise City Over Weekend

CASES of armed robberies have increased in and around Harare with at least five people losing cars, cash, cellphones and valuables at gunpoint over the weekend in separate incidences. Police confirmed and said no one was shot or injured. This comes in the wake that at least 2 000 criminal suspects are roaming the streets

free after being released on bail pending appeal.

In one of the cases, last Friday, a woman in Borrowdale lost a Honda Ballade worth US$13 000, US$700 cash and gold necklaces to a lone armed robber who broke into her house while she was asleep.

The woman who was in her bedroom tried to scream but the armed robber produced a pistol threatening to shoot her.

He then demanded cash and was given US$700 cash before threatening to rape the victim alleging that he was HIV positive.

The victim surrendered car keys and was later force marched to the vehicle which was parked outside before being bundled into the car.

She later managed to jump out of the vehicle and the robber sped off. A report was made to the police.

A Harare man lost a Toyota Raum to armed robbers he had offered a lift at a service station in the city to Kuwadzana.

It is reported that on approaching the Tynwald flyover one of the robbers produced a pistol and forced the man to comply with his orders.

They then searched him and took US$140 and a Samsung cellphone before pushing him out of the moving vehicle.

The robbers sped off.

Four armed robbers who were travelling in a blue Mazda Familia got away with US$25 and a Nokia cellphone after robbing a woman they had offered a lift in Newlands to the city centre.

The woman was traveling alone when the incident occurred at around 4.30am on Saturday.

One of the robbers produced a pistol and threatened to shoot the woman before ordering her to surrender cash and valuables.

She complied and the robbers later dumped her before driving off.

Another group of robbers pounced at Sunridge Service station early Sunday morning and got away with US$36 and a cellphone belonging to a petrol attendant.

The robbers, traveling in a Fun Cargo arrived at the service station and approached one of the fuel attendants alleging that they wanted US$5 petrol.

It is alleged that one of the armed robbers jumped out of the vehicle holding a rifle ordering the attendant to surrender all the money but he refused.

The attendant was manhandled and ordered to lie down while the robbers were searching him and they took the cash and the cellphone.

Police said the attendant pressed a panic button which was in his pocket and the robbers jumped into their vehicle and sped off.

Another man lost a Nokia cellphone to two armed robbers who waylaid him near the Kopje area in the city.

The man who was on his way to the area had disembarked a kombi at Copacabanna when the incident occurred.

He was later approached by the two robbers and one of them was armed with a pistol which they pointed to the complainant before searching him.

Police said no arrests have since been made and investigations are still in progress.

Members of the public have been urged to be wary of these criminals and it is suspected that they are armed and dangerous.

This year, at least 2000 criminal suspects are roaming the streets free as their appeals could not be dealt with timeously due to shortage of transcribers and poor recording equipment, a development that was compromising the justice delivery system.

The protracted delays have resulted in the suspects, among them carjackers, rapists, armed robbers and fraudsters, continuing with their criminal activities while others have since breached their bail conditions and disappeared.

Judicial Service Commission deputy secretary, Mr Rex Shana, recently said the High Court was sitting on 2000 appeal cases while the Supreme Court had 122 cases.

He lamented the huge backlog citing combination of factors.

Last year, police confirmed that hardcore criminals released from Harare jails were believed to be committing armed robberies and carjackings.

Some of these criminals were reportedly released on bail, bail pending appeal and others were said to have completed their sentences.

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