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Kombi hijacker in court


CHINHOYI A Chitungwiza man, Taurai Chikwata, believed to be part of a five-man armed robbery gang, on Tuesday appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate Sam Chitumwa facing charges of hijacking a commuter omnibus and stealing property worth over $10 400.

Three of his alleged accomplices Tafadzwa Chombo, Emmanuel Tichapondwa Sithole and Ngwarai Chikangautare are still at large, while the fourth suspect Joel Madzowere is currently serving a jail term at Harare Central Prison.

The court heard that on February 27, 2012, Chikwata (33) of St Marys in Chitungwiza and his four accomplices allegedly hatched a plan to commit robbery.

At around 6pm the suspects went to Westgate Shopping Mall bus stop in Harare, all armed with knives but pretending to be genuine travellers. They got into a Toyota Hiace commuter omnibus and indicated they were travelling to Banket.

The court heard at the 75km peg along the Harare-Chirundu Road the would-be robbers instructed the driver to stop claiming they had reached their destination.

The gang allegedly grabbed the driver Norman Banda and dragged him from the drivers seat before one of the suspects jumped into the drivers seat and drove off while threatening to stab the crew if they resisted the move.

The owner of the commuter omnibus Archmore Matsakada who was also in the vehicle was struck with an empty beer bottle on the head after trying to escape.

Banda, Matsakada and another crew member Lovemore Rukono were tied with cloths, beaten up and dumped at the scene.

The robbers took $127 and groceries before speeding off in the stolen vehicle which was later recovered. Chikwata was remanded in custody to April 2. Vote Zishiri prosecuted.

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