The Sunday News
Peter Matika. Senior Reporter
SEVEN armed robbers were Wednesday afternoon involved in an epic high speed chase and shootout with police detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in what witnesses described as nothing short of a scene from an action movie.
Two of the suspects managed to escape with gunshot wounds, while four died as a result of injuries sustained in the shootout. One of the suspects is reported to be in a stable condition and is receiving treatment under police guard. The incident occurred along the City – Mbizo Road, just before Zimasco, Chibuku depot area.
Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident, saying they had managed to burst one of the most dangerous armed robbery syndicates in the country.
“During the commission of the crimes the suspects would cover their faces with masks and threaten victims with firearms. In one such incident they shot and injured a police officer who was reacting to a report where the suspects were found in the process of robbing a business premises in Mabamba Complex, Chitungwiza,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said detectives, acting on a tip off managed to track the robbers to Kwekwe, where the robbers opened fire on them.
“…the suspects immediately opened fire on police officers while trying to flee in a Toyota Hiace. Police returned fire, gave chase. Four died as a result of the shootout and one is receiving treatment under police guard at a hospital,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said police managed to retrieve three pistols and 12 rounds of ammunition.
Five of the suspects have been identified as George Munyaradzi Machanyangwa (37), Harmony Nyati (29), Polite Madamombe (34), Titus Mashava (42) and Machael Vioma (34). The two that managed to escape were identified as Philip Mutasa and one Sean.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police had set up surveillance systems and intelligence gathering, as the force was working on weeding out dangerous criminal elements in the country.
“Criminal elements have only themselves to blame for their actions, as police we will not hesitate to pounce on them,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said from a period dating as far back as October 2018 the group committed a spate of armed robberies in and around Harare and other parts of the country.
“They would target businesses and residential areas. Police are investigating 24 reported cases in which they got away with large amounts of money: US$84 345, ZW$30 814, ZAR 16 000, Mozambican metical 100 000, 1 100 British pounds, 2 000 Dubai Dirhams and 4 860 Chinese Yuan.
“They also stole gold, jewellery, motor vehicles and an assortment of cellphones (21). They also stole six pistols, pellet gun and a shot gun, among many other valuables. They were out on bail for other cases and had the audacity to continue engaging in criminal activity, while disregarding bail conditions,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He added that police were pursuing all reported armed robbery cases and urged members of the public to assist with information that may lead to the apprehension of armed robbers.