BY NKOSENTSHA KHUMALO
FOUR notorious armed robbers have been sentenced to 10 years in prison each for committing a spate of cheeky robberies.
Mbekezeli Brighton Sibanda (24) of Mbundani, Lindani Mpala (20) of Gwabalanda, Bhekani Ndlovu (20) and Michael Khumalo (25) of Cowdray Park appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate Dambudzo Malunga on Wednesday.
Malunga sentenced each of them to 10 years in prison, of which two were suspended for five years on the condition of good behaviour.
Prosecutor Naison Chivayo told the court that sometime in January 2021 at around 8pm, Really Vhiyayi Sarireni (23) was on his way from Phelandaba West shops when he was confronted by Sibanda, Mpala, Khumalo and Ndlovu, who blocked his way.
One of them demanded cash and a cellphone from Sarireni, but he refused and tried to run away.
The four chased and caught up with him. They beat him up with iron bars before robbing him of his mobile phone.
Mehluli Sibanda (39), a Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officer stationed at Magwegwe, heard screaming outside his house and went to investigate.
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He managed to identify Sibanda, Khumalo, and Nhlanhla Ndlovu, who is still at large, as his neighbours who were assaulting Sarireni.
The robbers attacked the policeman, who fled back into his house.
They then smashed window panes using iron bars, and broke into his house and stole a cellphone, solar lamp and a vehicle and drove off after failing to locate Sibanda.
On the same night at around 10pm, the four met Ngqabutho Ndebele (39) and friend, Kholwani Ngwenya, whom they robbed of two cellphones.
Nothing was recovered.
A moment later, Thembani Mbomboya (23), who was in the company of his friends Zandile Mguni, Bongani Malanen and Njabulo Mabetha, stopped to assist Ndebele and Ngwenya, but were also assaulted.
They robbed Mbomboya of his cellphone and car.
They abandoned the vehicle near Luveve Cemetery, where it was later recovered, but the car battery, a pair of brown sandals, brown shoes and a manual which were in the vehicle could not be found.
The total value of stolen goods was US$4 120.
The car battery was later recovered after being sold to a Siphiwe Dube and the brown sandals were found with Brian Nyathi from Cowdray Park.
The State said the gang also robbed Philliot Sayi (30), a Zimbabwe Republic Police officer whose car had a puncture near New Luveve Cemetery.
Sayi was in the company of his wife Kwazinkosi Dube and their young son.
They had locked themselves inside the vehicle while awaiting assistance from a colleague.
The robbers, travelling in a stolen vehicle, stopped and confronted Sayi.
They used stones and iron bars to break the windscreen, stole a car battery, a pair of tennis shoes, a satchel and two cellphones valued at US$500.
They forced Sayi’s wife to lie on top of the bonnet and fondled her breasts and buttocks.
They attempted to remove her skirt, but she screamed and the four fled the scene.
Following police investigations, the four were arrested.
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