Walter Nyamukondiwa Mashonaland West Bureau
Four armed men, believed to be part of a machete-wielding gang that has been terrorising people in violent robberies in Mashonaland West Province, have appeared in court.
Their court appearance has lifted the lid on several other cases that are alleged to have been committed in Chegutu, Kadoma and Goromonzi.
Nyasha Chiutsi (28), Julius Mudzingwa (26), Donald Sambani (28) and Takunda Muchemeki (21) appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate Ms Christine Nyandoro on charges of obstructing or endangering the free movement of persons or traffic in contravention of Section 38(c) of the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act.
They also face another charge of contravening Section 14 (1) of the POSA Act for possessing weapons against a prohibition order in Makonde District.
Ms Nyandoro released them on grounds that they had been over-detained. However, the quartet was re-arrested soon after release in connection with other robbery cases in Chegutu.
Chiutsi, Mudzingwa, Sambani and Muchemeki were arrested after they barricaded a section of the Chinhoyi-Raffingora Road and attacked Solomon Gwati, who was driving towards Raffingora. The incident occurred on November 24. When Mr Gwati reached the blockade, he made a sudden U-turn and the gang gave chase in a Toyota Allion.
The vehicle was involved in an accident and the quartet fled on foot, but were apprehended by members of the public.
The police searched the vehicle and recovered six machetes, Colombian flick and non-flick knives, a couple of catapults and a sjambok. On appearing before magistrate Nyandoro, the four were immediately released after she ruled that they had been detained beyond the mandatory 48 hours. On being released, they found police from Chegutu waiting for them outside the court, leading to their immediate re-arrest. The group was expected to appear before a Chegutu magistrate on Wednesday to answer to similar charges involving robbery and use of prohibited weapons.