Govt moots stop and search roadblocks

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

GOVERNMENT is considering introducing stop-and-search security roadblocks on roads following a wave of armed robberies targeting cross-border buses plying the Zimbabwe-South Africa route.

A number of passengers have fallen victim to robbers who target buses, with the latest incident being recorded on Monday when armed men attacked a Musina-bound Brooklyn bus in Mbalabala.

Passengers lost mobile phones and cash during the heist.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said there was increasing concern over the spate of robberies on highways.

“Armed robbers have been robbing passengers and it is something of concern. It is something that they (police) are aware of and action is being taken to ensure that our citizens go about their business in peace,” Ziyambi told Senators on Thursday when asked what government was doing to protect travellers.

“So, it is something of concern that is being addressed and security road blocks and surveillance are being done. Some of them that have been robbing people since July last year were arrested …”

Cross-border traders have emerged as easy targets as most will be carrying cash.

The robbers have not been confined to Zimbabwe alone, but even in neighbouring South Africa, where buses going to that country or coming to Zimbabwe have been targeted.

In May last year, a Bulawayo man was shot on the ear after he withheld R10 from highway robbers who had hijacked a bus. Omalayitsha and two private motorists between Musina and Kranskop along the N1 Highway, between Musina and Johannesburg were also victims of robberies.

In June 2016, a bus travelling to Johannesburg from Zimbabwe was attacked by three gunmen, who robbed the passengers of money and cellphones between Polokwane and Mokopane.

In July the same year, a passenger on a bus from Zimbabwe to South Africa allegedly wrested a gun from a robber and shot him dead after four armed men had raided a bus in Musina.

In April 2015, 48 Zimbabweans endured a four-hour hijack horror after armed robbers stormed their Johannesburg-bound bus near Hammanskraal and got away with cash, cellphones and other gadgets.

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