Zimbabwe: Judgment Day for Taj Abdul Gang

By Nyore Madzianike
Nine suspected armed robbers led by Musa Taj Abdul and believed to be responsible for a spate of robberies around the country, will know their fate today when a Harare magistrate hands down a judgment in a matter they are accused of being found in possession of guns and ammunition in Beitbridge last August.

Abdul is jointly charged with Liberty Mupamhanga, Price Makodza, Godfrey Mupamhanga, Charles Lundu, Rudolph Kanhanga, Innocent Jairos, Tapiwa Mangoma and Carrington Marasha.

Harare magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko was supposed to deliver the judgment yesterday, but deferred the matter to today after Kanhanga and Mupamhanga were reportedly appearing at the High Court.

Mrs Mateko indicated that she wanted to deliver the judgment when all parties to the matter were in attendance and ordered the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service to take them to the Harare Magistrates Court today without fail.

The nine, through their lawyers, denied the charges during trial.

On August 24 last year, detectives from CID Drugs and Narcotics Beitbridge were told that the suspected armed robbers were at House No.1184 Mashakada, Dulivhadzimu in Beitbridge.

The detectives mobilised police call signals, Support Unit and Canine section and surrounded the house before notifying the gang of their presence.

It is said the nine suspects bolted out of the house and fled in different directions. Police gave chase and subsequently arrested them.

They then took them back to the house where a search led to the recovery of a 9×19 mm Vector Z88 pistol with serial numbers obliterated, 11x9x19mm live cartridges and 20×12 bore live cartridges on a webbing belt.

The firearms and ammunition were recovered from a black satchel stashed in a laundry basket. The nine are also expected to appear in court on a number of armed robbery charges.

Meanwhile, another set of suspected armed robbers that is also believed to be linked to the Musa Taj Abdul gang, last week appeared before the same court on charges of unlawful entry in aggravated circumstances, armed robbery and unlawful possession of firearms.

Musafare Mupanhanga, Spicer Takawira, Leo Mandaza, Chamunorwa Takawira, Joseph Chinhema, Newman Watsikwa and James Nyakutsikwa were not asked to plead to the charges and were advised by magistrate Mr Dennis Mangosi to approach the High Court for bail application.

They are suspected to have robbed a family in Rusape, MCH Service Station in Southlea Park and Petzim Service Station in Highfield, Harare and various shops around the capital.

After their arrest, the suspected robbers led detectives to Joseph Chinhemba’s residence in Houghton Park where a pistol and seven live rounds of ammunition were recovered.

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