Three suspected robbers from Lower Gweru have been arraigned before Gweru Magistrate courts facing 67 counts of robbery, theft, burglary, rape, kidnapping and one possible count of murder.
The trio, Knowledge Prince Nkomo (22), Hloniphani Sibanda (28) and Jabulani Sibanda (35), are being jointly charged under the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
It is the state’s case that from April 2018, the three terrorized residents and businesses in and around Gweru in areas which include Lower Gweru, Gwenhoro, Dabuka, Treetops, Mkoba and Woodlands Park.
The state, represented by Andrew Marimo told the court that the trio is facing 25 counts of unlawful entry, 24 counts of robbery and 15 counts of theft.
On the 13th of June in Lower Gweru, the trio are said to have broken into seven members of staff’s rooms at Nhlangano Secondary School and took cellphones, laptops, cash and other valuables at knife point.
The trio also assaulted some of their victims including one Synaman Sibanda who they struck with a brick on the head while demanding cash.
At Mangwande Primary School also in Lower Gweru on the 8th of July, Nkomo and Hloniphani pounced on nine staff members at the school breaking into their rooms and robbing them at knife point and threatening them with an axe before taking their clothes, phones and other valuables.
They also stole a Nissan Serena vehicle belonging to one Fananidzo Muchemwa at Mangwande School.
At Mangwande Shopping Centre, Njini Village under Chief Bunina on the same date, the two broke into Tshonisa Bhatshi Shop and stole groceries before proceeding to break into Milford Hlabangana’s premises, the shop owner.
On the 26th of June at Treetops Shopping Centre along Bulawayo road just a few kilometers out of Gweru, Nkomo and Hloniphani broke into Shava General Dealers, Treetops Butchery and Treetops Cocktail Bar where they took groceries, cash, meat, alcohol, electrical and solar gadgets, threatening the owners and employees with an axe demanding cash in the process.
On the 18th and 27th of June at Maboleni Business Centre Nkomo and, this time around, Jabulani Sibanda, broke into and robbed Bhebhe Shop, Wateringhole Bottle Store, Milbruce General Dealer and Mega Melborne General Dealer taking groceries, cash, alcohol, phones and other valuables.
At Melborne Nkomo and Jabulani are said to have assaulted one Andrew Tembo before force marching him to his employer’s home.
The accused two are being jointly charged with kidnapping of Tembo.
Other places which were robbed include Wakapiwa Farm at Dabuka, Glenceith Farm in Gwenoro and O.M General Dealer at Skombingo in Lower Gweru where they were threatening the owners and occupants with an axe.
Khazi General Dealer at Willowrun Farm, Arizona Bottle Store, where three traders fell victim to the trio, Keynshanburg Farm all in the Gweru area were also robbed.
M.S.N Investments in Mkoba 14 Business Centre was also broken into, a house in Mkoba 14, one in Mkoba 9 as well as another in Woodlands Park Phase 2 were also robbed and they got away with cellphones, cash, laptops and other valuables.
The trio have since been remanded in custody to the 14th of February 2019.