Illegal fuel dealers up for armed robbery

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Ten Harare men were arrested last week and charged with armed robbery after they allegedly attacked illegal fuel business dealers and made off with $1 260 cash and 210 litres of diesel.

This was after the alleged gang leader, Taduis Marufu, who is said to be in the business of selling fuel illegally, allegedly hired nine men and paid them $200 to attack his business competitors who operate at number 108 Coventry Road, Harare.

The alleged hired men are Brian Madzorere (29), Tazvishaya Chisamba (36), George Ushewokunze (42), Godfrey Chataika (51), Edgar Chakwizira (30), Walter Tonderai Makotore (29), Itai Hove (24), Lovejoy Jeremiah (27) and Farai Nyakudya (30).

They all appeared before regional magistrate Clever Tsikwa on Tuesday facing five counts of armed robbery.

The magistrate remanded them in custody and advised them to apply for bail at the High Court.

All the accused were represented by Rekai Maphosa while the state was represented by Nathaniel Chigoro.

It is alleged on April 8, the men connived to rob illegal fuel dealers Reason Mandizadza, Silas Matende, Brighton Nyambuya, Milton Murimwa and Admire Mupande at 108 Coventry Road.

This was after Marufu had faced stiff competition from his business rivals and resolved to bring their operations down.

On the day in question, the nine men in the absence of Marufu, allegedly proceeded to the business premises in two separate vehicles while armed with a pistol and baton sticks.

Upon arrival at 108 Coventry Road, it is alleged they ordered all complainants to lie down after which they assaulted them, searched them and stole a total amount of $1 260 and a phone.

It is further alleged they ordered them to load a drum containing 210 litres of diesel onto their truck.

The state alleges the accused persons later proceeded to Admire Mupande’s office located within the company premises and assaulted him with baton sticks but Mupande is said to have fired three warning shots into the air sending them scurrying for cover.

They escaped in their getaway cars.

It is alleged the men drove to Waterfalls with their loot, met Marufu and surrendered the fuel after which Marufu allegedly paid another $100 to them as a token of appreciation.

On April 10, police arrested Madzorere and he implicated all the others together with Marufu, who led the police to the recovery of the empty fuel drum.