The Herald (Harare)

16 October 2013

Zimbabwe: Kidnappers Case Fails to Kick Off

THE trial of a woman and a 17-year-old boy accused of kidnapping a four-year-old girl at Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa's United Family International Church service in Kwekwe before demanding a US$40 000 ransom failed to start at Gokwe magistrates' court yesterday.The duo was further remanded in custody to 28 October because the regional magistrate, Mr Amos Mbobo was not available.

Rumbidzai Chimimba (20) and the 17-year-old boy, all of Kwekwe's Mbizo high-density suburb, who are facing charges of contravening section 93 (3)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, are denying the charge.

Their accomplice, Andrew Musarurwa (23), who admitted to the charges was slapped with a 10- year- jail sentence when he appeared before the same court recently.

According to the indictment, on September 8 this year, the three went to UFIC church at New Mining Museum Hall at around 1.30pm where they kidnapped the girl. They hired a getaway car which they used to ferry the girl to Gokwe where they kept her at their hideout.

After the church service, the girl's parents searched for her but could not locate her, prompting them to report the matter to the police.

The following day, the duo called a member of the church demanding the details of the girl's mother. They made another anonymous call to the girl's parents demanding a ransom of US$40 000.

Police investigations revealed that the call was being made within the 10km radius of the Mbizo Econet booster, but the mobile phone number was registered in the name of a resident of Dombotombo suburb in Marondera. Two days later, the girl's mother called the kidnappers informing them that she had raised the required amount.

They gave her directions to a storm water drain at a 20km peg along the Kwekwe-Mvuma road where she was supposed to drop the money and was advised not to bring the police or any other person. At around 1pm, the girl's mother went and dropped the money. At around 9pm, the kidnappers called the girl's mother to collect her daughter at a fast food outlet in Kwekwe where she found her eating some food bought by the kidnappers.

The kidnappers then went to Gweru where they bought a Nissan Caravan before driving to a hideout in Bulawayo.

Police made a follow-up with the assistance of members of the public and went to Gokwe where the kidnappers had kept the girl while demanding the ransom.

Call history of the kidnappers had linked them to a subscriber in Mkoba Village 10 suburb. The police also traced another phone number which the kidnappers were using and discovered that it belonged to a subscriber from Tshabalala in Bulawayo. On September 16, the police went to Bulawayo where they waylaid them before arresting Chimimba who they found in the house.

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