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Armed Robberies Worry Civic Society Organisations

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has expressed concern over the rise in armed robberies and murder cases recorded in various parts of the country over the past few months.

Cases of armed robberies increased countrywide towards the end of 2021 year with criminals targeting cash-in transit vehicles, individuals, business people and cross-border buses.

Most of the robberies implicated serving and retired members of the security forces who include soldiers and police officers.

CiZC said they are disturbed by the fact that the crimes are being committed by those entrusted with protecting the territorial integrity of the country.

“The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) is deeply worried by the continued deterioration of citizen and business security in the country due to an increase in cases of armed robberies, some of which have resulted in loss of lives. What is most worrying is the fact that most of these robberies have been committed by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) who are supposed to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

“As if that is not enough, the speed and frequency of successful prosecution of such cases has been low. The second half of 2021 was highlighted by numerous reports of armed robberies which have been perpetrated by identified serving members of the ZDF. Businesses like fuel service stations, cash-in-transit vehicles and farms have been attacked and funds looted,” said CiZC.

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While acknowledging the efforts by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the coalition expressed reservations on the rate at which serving officers are attacking businesses.

“We applaud the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) which has so far managed to apprehend some of the criminals who have been involved in these cases. However, we question the frequency and consistency of serving officers to attack businesses and civilians.

“Would it be plausible to hypothesize that the involvement of members of the ZDF in armed robberies is a reflection of the poor state of affairs in the barracks, indicative of the government’s continued neglect of our defense forces?

“Whilst crime of any nature cannot be condoned, there is a growing sentiment that the increase in cases of violent crime, including by members of the ZDF, is an indication of rising poverty and government’s failure to honor the social contract- factors that are pushing citizens towards crime as a last resort to attaining livelihoods,” the Coalition said.

In light of the robbery cases CiZC called on President Mnangagwa to ensure that security forces are well remunerated and hold their offices in straight jackets.

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