Police in Bulawayo yesterday said they were on high alert following a spate of armed robberies that took place in the city in the last few weeks targeting illegal foreign currency dealers popularly known as Osiphatheleni.
Bulawayo acting provincial police spokesperson Bekimpilo Ndlovu said measures had been put in place to foil the robberies.
“We are always on high alert when it comes to armed robberies. We can not divulge the measures were put in place,” he said.
Last week, illegal foreign currency dealers meted out mob justice on a suspected armed robber who had grabbed their colleague’s bag containing more than R10 000.
“When it comes to illegal foreign currency dealers, it is not a question of protecting criminals, but our primary interest is arresting those found in illegal possession of firearms with the aim of establishing their origins,” Ndlovu said.
“If we establish the origins of those illegal firearms, we would have neutralised those criminals and we also get a chance to clear previous cases of armed robberies where those firearms might have been used.”
He called on the public to use registered financial institutions for cash transactions to avoid falling prey to the robbers. Two years ago, police adopted a shoot-to-kill policy in Bulawayo after suspected armed robbers went on the prowl targeting banks and supermarkets.