KWEKWE– The vicious exchange of fire between suspected armed robbers and police detectives in Kwekwe on Wednesday this week resulted in the deaths of four of the seven-member cartel of gangsters whose notorious operations were carried out in Harare and other parts of the country, it has emerged.
The four suspected armed robbers were shot dead near Chibuku Beverages, along Mbizo Road, in the Midlands mining town. Two of the suspects reportedly escaped with injuries whilst another one is battling for dear life at an unnamed ‘local hospital’.
The robbers have been identified as George Munyaradzi Machanyangwa (37), Harmony Nyati (29), Polite Madamombe (34), Titus Mashava (42) and Michael Vioma (34). The other two, Phillip Mutasa and his accomplice only identified as Sean are reportedly still at large following their escape during the shootings.
In a statement on Thursday, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the armed robbers, who were travelling with a getaway Toyota Hiace on the fateful day, engaged in a spate of armed robberies and police detectives are investigating 24 recorded cases in which the suspects reportedly got away with ‘large sums of money’.
Police detectives acting on information, caught up with the suspects and the latter were reportedly the first ones to open fire and subsequently, the police detectives returned the fire.
Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said the assailants got away with various amounts in both local and foreign currency which include US$84 345, ZLW30 814, ZAR16 000, 100 000 Mozambique Meticals, 1 100 pounds sterling, 2 000 Dubai Currency, 4 860 Chinese Yuan and various items including gold, jewellery, motor vehicles, 18 cellphones, three iPhones and six pistols, one pellet gun and a shotgun.
“The suspects who were out on bail for other cases which are pending before the courts, had the audacity to continue engaging in criminal acts”, Ass Com Nyathi said.
“During the commission of the robbery offenses, the suspects would cover their faces with masks and threaten victims with firearms. In one such incident, they shot and injured a police officer who was reacting to a report where the suspect were found in the process of robbing a business premise at Mabamba Complex, Chitungwiza Town Centre”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has said it has now stepped up surveillance, intelligence gathering and said ‘it will not tolerate the proliferation of armed robbery gangs’.