Suspected armed robbers seek freedom

Thirteen suspected armed robbers have approached the High Court seeking bail after being arrested in connection with a spate of heists countrywide using an AK-47 assault rifle, pistols, axes, iron bars and spikes against their victims.

BY CHARLES LAITON
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The suspects were arrested following an incident at Ayrshire Mine in Banket on August 4 last year, when they allegedly waylaid two security vehicles transporting about 6,5kg of gold from the mine to Fidelity Printers in Harare.

The suspects include Titus Chatukuta, Rodwell Vanhukwavo Mutunya, Tinashe Matinyenya, Ray Shangare, Wilson Kanetsa, Ngonidzashe Mutimba, Charles Nyandoro, Simbarashe Tavengwa, Mgcini Ramachela, Khumbulani Ncube, Takafa Vhumbunu, Tinashe Chikara and Happymore Muchenje.

According to the court papers, on the day in question, the gang allegedly connived to rob and proceeded to the mine in four different cars without registration plates.

The State alleges at the time, the gang was armed with six pistols, an AK-47 assault rifle, axes, iron bars and two sets of spikes as they prepared to attack the Safeguard Security company cash-in-transit vehicles.

When the gang was about two kilometres from the mine, it is alleged they saw the vehicles approaching and threw spikes on the road in a bid to deflate the tyres and continue to attack.

However, when the victims noticed the spikes and realised they were in danger, they tried to reverse the vehicles, but the gang quickly moved in and deflated the vehicle tyres.

The State alleges the gang simultaneously emerged from the right side of the bush, wearing matching blue worksuits and face masks and at the same time, opening fire at the fleeing security vehicles.

As the area was turned into a battlefield, the gang allegedly used axes, hammers and crowbars to smash the front screen and side windows of the armoured vehicle carrying gold, but the crew did not surrender.

“The crew reversed safely from the firing zone, while the driver of the escort Toyota Hilux car lost control of the vehicle and rammed against a tree, but the accused (gang) kept randomly firing at the stationary vehicle, while the crew returned fire, resulting in one of the gang members getting shot,” part of the State papers read.

After some time, it is alleged, the suspected robbers realised they had lost and drove away in their getaway truck which they later abandoned about 20 kilometres from the scene, leaving trails of blood on the passenger door.

However, during the alleged commission of the offence, some of the gang members were captured by surveillance cameras fitted on to the two armoured vehicles, leading to their positive identification by police.

It is also alleged, the blood trail that was left behind was taken for forensic examination and matched one of the suspects, whose wounds were concluded to have been inflicted by a gun shot.

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