Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Police have arrested a suspect believed to be part of armed robbers who terrorise motorists along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Highway.
Michael Mhangami was arrested last Thursday after he shot and wounded five villagers in the Matshiloni area.
The suspect opened fire at the victims who had cornered him as he fled from police after robbing a couple at a lay-bye near Tshapfuche area.
Matabeleland South acting police spokesperson Sergeant Thabani Mkwanazi said Mhangami was part of a four-man gang that robbed a couple earlier in the day using a shotgun.
Initial investigations showed that the suspect and three others still at large pounced on a couple at the 248 km peg along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Road at a lay-bye. They stripped the couple of cellphones and an assortment of electrical gadgets and disappeared into the bush at around 12:30pm, said Sgt Mkhwanazi.
The matter was reported to the police and Mhangami was later spotted by a member of the neighbourhood watch committee (NWC) loitering along the same road. The NWC member became suspicious and tried to confront him but he ran into the bush, Sgt Mkwanazi said.
The NWC member then teamed up with the police to follow Mhangami’s spoor and local villagers joined in the search.
When the accused realised that he had been cornered, he opened fire from his 12-bore shotgun. The pellets wounded five of the villagers on the legs.
He was finally subdued by the angry mob, said Sgt Mkwanazi.
Mhangami sustained head injuries after being assaulted by the mob and was taken to Beitbridge District Hospital together with the victims.
Sgt Mkwanazi said police recovered the shotgun and several stolen items, including cellphones and cameras and R2 500 in cash. He said they were still pursuing other members of the gang and commended members of the community for their assistance in apprehending Mhangami.