Robbers hijack bus, mug 40 passengers

BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA

A FIVE-MEMBER armed gang yesterday assaulted and robbed 40 passengers travelling on a Beitbridge-bound Boundary Express coach of over US$15 000, R31 340 and $2 510 after hijacking the bus.

Several passengers who were on the bus are admitted at Masvingo General Hospital and are said to be nursing stab wounds.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the robbery which happened in the early hours of yesterday.

Nyathi said the Boundary Express coach left Mbudzi roundabout in Harare around 9pm on Sunday and two unidentified armed robbers carrying machetes were part of the passengers.

He said the other robbers later boarded the bus in Mvuma and commandeered the driver to divert from the Harare-Masvingo Highway to a dust road near Mushagashe tollgate.

“They started fighting each passenger using machetes, knives and a gun.  They collected cash and valuables from each of them. They took over US$15 000, R31 340 and $2 510,” Nyathi said.

He said during the melee, one passenger sustained deep cuts, while others sustained bruises all over their bodies.

Nyathi said the armed robbers were still at large.

“ZRP has intensified efforts to curb crime, but the biggest violators of COVID-19 lockdown regulations are at risk and bus operators are the main culprits, who are also aiding smuggling since the Beitbridge border is closed for the public.

“We have arrested the bus crew for contravening COVID-19 regulations and they are in police custody. We will be taking stern action against all bus operators who are violating these regulations.

“The border is closed and there is no need for commuters to board buses, saying they were going to Musina (in South Africa). It shows that bus operators are aiding illegal smuggling activities at the border.”

Nyathi urged the public to strictly adhere to COVID-19 regulations as it is for their own safety, adding that this would protect them from criminal elements who take advantage of the situation to commit crimes.

“We have alerted police commanders to monitor and take action on unscrupulous bus operators and members of the ZRP who may be involved in assisting these bus operators in violating COVID-19 regulations,” he said.

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