Luthando Mapepa Chipinge Correspondent
THE notorious five armed robbers, who were arrested in Chipinge after terrorising businesspeople in the district through their criminal activities, were this week hauled before the courts and locked up in remand prison.
The five — Michael Chimukuze (45), of 2386 Chinzanga Township, Mutoko, Paidamoyo Nemusasa (28), of 4774 Unit J Seke, Chitungwiza, Tsvuura Tsvuura (36), of Newlands, Zengeza 4, Chitungwiza and William Mazambani (33), of Mutekede Village, under Chief Rusambo, Rushinga appeared before magistrate Mr Farai Gwitima, facing an assortment of armed robbery and unlawful entry charges.
The gang, which had become notorious for its blunt use of firearms and other deadly weapons, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutor Mr Gift Bikita successfully opposed bail arguing that the suspects would interfere with investigations and skip the country, among other transgressions.
“The court should deny all the accused persons bail because they may jeopardise investigations. There are also chances that the accused may skip the country once freed from prison custody, therefore bail is opposed,” he said.
Mr Gwitima concurred with the State, and remanded the matter to July 18 for trial.
Mr Bikita said on May 28, the gang, which was armed with two pistols, iron bars and knives, pounced at a Mapuranga homestead posing as police officers.
“They posed as police officers and demanded to see Jacob Mapuranga. During the commotion they pointed the firearms at the victims and demanded cash. They assaulted everyone at the homestead and ransacked the house in search of cash. The gang took a bag containing various clothing items worth about $750,” he said.
Mr Bikita said pursuant to their mission, the gang organised another robbery on June 10, 2019.
“The gang approached the Zivachako homestead at Kondo Business Centre. They jumped over the precast wall and manhandled two male adults who were sleeping on the veranda. The gang then manhandled the premise proprietor Pamela Penyakufa and force marched her into her bedroom. They took US$24 000, R44 200 and RTGS$2 859 from her and vanished from the scene,” he said.
Mr Bikita said the gang went on to commit another robbery the following week at Chibuwe Business Centre.
“On June 28, the suspects pounced on Samuel Maadza’s homestead stole R186, 000 and RTGS$17, 000,” he said.
Mr Bikita said the detectives intercepted one of the culprits William Mazambani, who was driving a Toyota Chaser which was used to commit some of the crimes.
“A manhunt was carried resulting in the arrest of the criminals following a violent exchange of gunfire with detectives. The ring leader Tsvuura was shot on the left leg during the gun exchange. Their arrest led to the recovery of a Toyota Harrier, a pistol charged with seven rounds of live ammunition and a toy pistol,” he said.