BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Police in Marondera have arrested a leader of a suspected gun-totting gang which was terrorising residents in the town and nearby areas, getting away with cash and cellphones, among other things.
The terror gang targeted businesses and moved around with pistols, canisters and crow bars, among other weapons, robbing a number of residents at gunpoint.
Last month, one of the gang members, Blessing Nyika Kuzvinzwa was convicted and sentenced to an effective 25-year jail term over a string of robberies.
The gang leader, who allegedly masterminded the attack, Solomon Nyamukondiwa was only arrested this week on Tuesday in Harare and police reportedly recovered the pistol used in committing the crimes.
When NewsDay visited Marondera Central Police Station yesterday, Nyamukondiwa and another suspected gang member were in holding cells. The two are expected to appear in court tomorrow and investigations are still in progress because the other gang members were still at large.
Mashonaland East provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tendai Mwanza confirmed the arrest and promised to issue a statement later.
Marondera crime consultative committee (CCC) chairperson Dunmore Mutyambizi, who worked closely with police officers, applauded the force for working tirelessly to arrest the suspects.
“As business, we greatly appreciate the sterling efforts of the dedicated crime-busting units at CID Marondera. We also applaud businesspeople that are mobilising resources for police through the CCC,” he said.
“Together, we have managed to curb the surge of crimes of concern, especially armed robbers which were giving everyone sleepless nights in our usually safe town. Working hand in hand with the police using community policing initiatives has yielded splendid results as evidenced by the pace and rate at which most of the criminals are being nabbed.”
On February 15, at around 6pm, Nyamukondiwa and his four accomplices went to Ndirande Farm in Goromonzi where they allegedly forcefully entered ex-magistrate Jacqueline Pratt’s kitchen and ordered the family to lie down while assaulting them with logs.
They allegedly tied the complainants with cables and ransacked the house. They stole a Bernadelli pistol loaded with 20 rounds, US$270, ZWR$1 270, cellphones and Mercedes Benz ML car keys. They allegedly bundled the complainants into the Mercedes Benz and drove to Pratt’s daughter-in-law’s residence on the same farm. The total value of the stolen property was pegged at ZWR$10 040 and only ZWR$8 150 was recovered.
The gang also stole property and cash at Pratt’s daughter-in-law’s residence using the stolen pistol. They then dumped the Mercedes Benz before stealing a Nissan X-trail.
It is alleged that during the same night and using the stolen Nissan X-trail, the accused and his accomplices now wearing masks proceeded to businessman Gift Phillip’s (37) residence in Marondera. They broke the bedroom window and pointed the stolen piston at Phillip and his wife while others were breaking down the kitchen door to gain entry.
While inside the house, the suspects threatened to rape Phillip’s wife if they were not given cash. They ransacked the house and stole US$200, ZWR$800 and some valuable. Goods worth ZWR$250 were later recovered.
On the same night, using the Nissan X-trail, the gang allegedly carried out another armed robbery in Ruvimbo Park where they stole cash and some valuables before speeding off.