Police in show of force against cunning robbers
Some macabre murder cases, a worrying rise in armed robbery cases and a disturbing spike in abuse of dangerous drugs such as crystal meth were some of the worrying trends that emerged in 2021.
While the marked rise in armed robberies and gun-related crimes were a cause for concern in 2021, the Zimbabwe Republic Police deserves credit for stepping up to the plate to fight serious crimes. Most armed robbers who terrorised communities were brought to book.
The Sunday Mail looks at some of the notable crimes in the past year.
Following the capture of arguably Zimbabwe’s most wanted man, Musa Taj Abdul, in 2020, a number of notorious armed robbers were similarly nabbed in 2021.
In early 2021, the country experienced probably the biggest heist of the year along the Harare-Chinhoyi Highway when a ZB Bank cash-in-transit vehicle was intercepted. The robbers got away with US$2,7 million in cash but it did not take long for police to uncover the inside job by ZB security personnel.
Three ZB Bank security staff and eight robbers were arrested and part of the money recovered. In June, two of Abdul’s allies — Spicer Takawira and Musafare Mupamhanga — who were wanted for a spate of armed robberies and other violent crimes were arrested following a shootout with police in Glen View 7, Harare.
In July, a serial armed robber, Godfrey Josi, who is believed to have amassed over US$300 000 over a four-year reign of terror, unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide four times but his pistol jammed when he was cornered by a crack team of over 30 law-enforcement agents.
Josi and his wife Juliet Gavaza (36) were arrested at their Damofalls home. Some of the paraphernalia recovered from the scene suggests the couple used juju to further their criminal enterprise.
The rap sheet includes 25 counts of armed robbery, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
In one of the most talked-about incidents of the year, in early November, three armed robbers were shot dead by a former CID Homicide detective, Mr Joseph Nemaisa, at his Chadcombe home after the suspects targeted the wrong house.
Worryingly, there was a tendency by the courts to award bail to some of the suspected robbers that were facing serious charges. For example, even the notorious Abdul was briefly granted bail only for the police to re-arrest him on other charges.
Several other suspected armed robbers who were granted bail were re-arrested for the same crime.
A rise in killings of young children left many shell-shocked in 2021.
In one incident, two minors —both aged seven (7) — were gruesomely murdered at Sambaza Village under Chief Mutasa in Nyanga in April. Their bodies were found dumped in a disused toilet pit after a desperate search by the community.
Police arrested Solomon Manyama and Passmore Sambaza over the incident after they were found in possession of blood-stained clothes.
In October, a Kwekwe man, Thubelithle Khoshow (26), was arrested for murder and rape by police in Redcliff after killing six people.
The man, who was a member of the Johane Masowe sect, reportedly became mentally unwell and struck 10 people with an axe, spear and knife.
Police also stepped up the fight against drug abuse and launched a blitz on drug kingpins and peddlers around the country.
Latest figures from police show that from January to November 2021, 7 263 suspects were arrested for drug-related offences. During this period, more than one million kilogrammes of dagga were recovered.
Also, 6,04 kgs of cocaine, 1 331 x 100-ml bottles of Bronclear, 17 323 kgs of crystal meth, 1 241 kgs of elphedrine, 41×100-ml bottles of Histalix, various skin-lightening creams and unregistered medicines — all valued at $38 million — were recovered.
In other news,
Fresh Demolitions Loom in Chitungwiza
Chitungwiza Town Council has given a 48-hour ultimatum to residents who erected illegal structures at Seke Unit D Shopping Centre to remove them or risk demolition.
Acting Town Clerk Evangelist Machona said that residents who are building or have already built any structures at the shopping centre have to produce authentic documentation to prove that everything was done above board or risk losing the properties.
All those buildings without adequate council papers and…Learn More