BY RICHARD MUPONDE
SEVEN armed robbers linked to a spate of robberies and have pending court cases dating as far back as 2009, were arrested following a shootout with detectives in Kuwadzana, Harare, on Wednesday.
They were nabbed following a high-speed chase, where one of their female accomplices was shot dead.
Five of the suspects, Tonia Farai Ndoro (27) of New Marimba, Prosper Magwejani (44) of Section 2 Kambuzuma, Gilbert Chikukwa (54) of Mufakose, Chancellor Thandi (40) of Mufakose, all in Harare and Robinson Chinhuka (42) of Chimhaka village under Chief Mabika in Bikita, have been classified as dangerous criminals.
Ndoro and Chinhuka were recently released from Mutimurefu Prison in Masvingo where they had served lengthy jail terms for armed robbery.
Ndoro is on a warrant of arrest for a previous case committed in 2009.
Their two female accomplices were identified as Amiah Chayi (18) and the deceased Lucy Nyakudya (20) of Kuwadzana 1.
The latest arrests are expected to clear a number of armed robberies which took place recently around the country.
A leaked police memo dated March 24 seen by NewsDay yesterday said the seven became a target after they allegedly robbed a former illicit drugs dealer, Kudzanai Manyonga (35) of New Marimba, of US$500, a cellphone and a television set before firing gunshots.
They allegedly arrived at Manyonga’s home at around midnight, where they broke a glass door to the lounge.
She and her two cousins woke up after being disturbed by the noise.
Manyonga screamed for help, but the suspects, who were allegedly armed with a pistol, hammer and bolt cutter, ordered them to shut up.
One of the suspects pointed the pistol at Manyonga demanding money, valuables and Bron Cleer.
They went on to ransack the house and stole US$500 from the complainant’s purse, her cellphone and television set.
However, they were disturbed by one Trust Kamuteko, who works at a tuckshop at the same house, and they fled.
They got into their getaway car and fired a shot to scare away Kamuteko who was in hot pursuit, before dropping the television set and an Itel cellphone belonging to Magwejani.
Detectives established the contacts of their suspects through the cellphone they had dropped.
The following day, the detectives followed up on the contacts in the cellphone, leading to the arrest of Ndoro, who implicated all his accomplices
He led the detectives to Magwejani’s home, who on seeing police, bolted out, but was caught about 100 metres away from his house.
He then led the detectives to Chikukwa and Nyakudya at Areno shopping centre in Kuwadzana 1.
When detectives arrived in Kuwadzana, Thandi, who was driving the suspects’ getaway vehicle, noticed the police vehicle and sped off, resulting in a high speed chase.
Gunshots were exchanged and the chase went up to Kuwadzana 2.
Chikukwa, Thandi and Chinhuka were arrested as they were trying to run away, while Chayi and Nyakudya were arrested in the getaway car, a Mazda Atenza, whose plates had been removed.
Upon arrest, it was established that accused Nyakudya had a gunshot wound on the chest and was rushed to Sally Mugabe Central Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
On being interviewed, they admitted to have committed several armed robberies since 2009.