The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Lone Robber Threatens to Rape Victim

A lone armed robber last Friday threatened to rape his victim if she refused to hand over her car keys and cash, alleging that he was HIV positive, in one of five cases of armed robbery reported in the city over the weekend. The Borrowdale woman lost her Honda Ballade worth US$13 000, US$700 cash and gold necklaces to the lone armed robber who broke into her house while she was asleep.

She was one of the five victims of armed robbery in the city who lost cars, cash, cellphones and valuables at gunpoint in separate incidents, police have said.

The Borrowdale woman, who was in her bedroom, tried to scream but the armed robber produced a pistol threatening to shoot her. He demanded cash and was given US$700 before the victim surrendered car keys and was later force-marched to the vehicle which was parked outside. She was bundled into the vehicle, but managed to jump off as the robber sped off.

Another victim of the armed robberies, a Harare man, lost a Toyota Raum to armed robbers he had offered a lift to Kuwadzana from a service station in the city. Police said on approaching the Tynwald fly-over, one of the robbers produced a pistol and ordered the man to comply with his orders.

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

The robbers sped off.

Another 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 from Newlands to the city centre.

The woman was travelling 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.

In another robbery case, an armed gang pounced at Sunridge Service station early Sunday morning and got away with US$36 and a cellphone belonging to a petrol attendant. The gang that was travelling in a Toyota Fun Cargo arrived at the service station and approached one of the fuel attendants and claimed they wanted to buy US$5 worth of petrol. It is alleged that one of the armed robbers jumped out of the vehicle holding a rifle and ordered 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 men who waylaid him near the Kopje area in the city.

The man was on his way home when the incident occurred.

He was accosted by the two men and one of them was armed with a pistol which they pointed at the complainant before searching him.

Police said no arrests had been made and investigations were still in progress. It is suspected that some of the armed robbers were released recently on bail pending appeal. The Judicial Service Commission recently said at least 2 000 criminal convicts were roaming the streets as their appeals could not be dealt with timeously due to a shortage of transcribers and poor recording equipment, a development that was compromising justice delivery.

The protracted delays had 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. JSC deputy secretary, Mr Rex Shana, recently said the High Court was sitting on 2 000 appeal cases while the Supreme Court had 122 cases.

He lamented the huge backlog citing a 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 the criminals were reportedly released on bail pending appeal and others were said to have completed serving their sentences.

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