Zimbabwe police yesterday arrested three suspected armed robbers who were part of a gang that got away with 11.9 kgs of gold and 4 guns in the How Mine in Bulawayo. The incident occurred on Tuesday at around 7.30 AM at the 21-kilometre peg along the Bulawayo-How Mine Road. One of the suspects was arrested in Beitbridge while attempting to flee to South Africa. The trio is part of a gang of 13 armed robbers who on Tuesday ambushed three Securico Security Company cash-in-transit vehicles, about nine kilometers from How Mine and got away with four guns and the gold, which was being transported to Fidelity Printers.
The robbers who were travelling in three cars, a Toyota Hilux GD6, a Nissan Hardbody single-cab and a Nissan March, ambushed and blocked the convoy before disarming the security guards and loading the gold into their vehicles. In a statement yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the three suspects arrested are Antony Moyo (39), Wilson Mutandwa (24) and Ernerst Mutandwa 30 . He said the other suspects are still on the run.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the 11,6kg of gold was in transit from How Mine to Fidelity Printers, Bulawayo and four firearms were stolen. “On Tuesday, 4 October, our officers received information that some of the stolen items were abandoned at a house under construction along Folly Road, West Somerton, Bulawayo. Detectives reacted to the report and recovered, car keys, 3 x 9mmm spent cartridges, a black glove, a 303-rifle loaded with eight live rounds and three empty metal boxes,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said police arrested Moyo who implicated both Mutandwas. The vehicle was left riddled with bullets after the shootout. Further investigations by the Police established that the SA registered Nissan NP 300 single cab vehicle , registration number HR30XJGP which was abandoned by the suspects at the scene belongs to Ximba Nkosilathi, also known as Tonderai Vhumbunu and was at times seen being driven by Antony Moyo,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“We arrested Antony Moyo who implicated Wilson Mutandwa and Ernest Mutandwa, who were subsequently arrested.” Asst Comm Nyathi said Ernest Mutandwa was arrested in Beitbridge while attempting to flee to South Africa. He said the suspects’ accomplices, who include Abraham Vumbunu, Elijah Vumbunu, Israel Zulu, Diva (no further particulars known) and six other unknown suspects are on the run. Asst Comm Nyathi warned armed robbery syndicates, including company employees and associates leaking information to criminals, that their days are numbered. He appealed for information which may lead to the arrest of the outstanding suspects.
It is alleged that when the robbery occurred, How Mine security manager (name withheld) was following the convoy from a distance using a Toyota Fortuner. He then witnessed the robbery and pursued the suspects which resulted in a shoot-out. The security manager reportedly shot at one of the vehicles (Nissan Hardbody) and it veered off the road and hit a signpost. The suspects are reported to have then jumped into the other two vehicles while firing shots toward the security manager’s vehicle.
The high-speed chase and shootout continued until the vehicles got to Ekusileni Hospital in Hillside where the suspects escaped. The security manager is lucky to be alive as his vehicle was hit by three bullets and one of the bullets went through the rear right window and hit the front passenger seat. A revolver was recovered from the Nissan Hardbody which was abandoned, sources said. There have been concerns over an increase in armed robberies countrywide. Three weeks ago, armed robbers pounced on CBZ Bank’s Fife Street branch in Bulawayo and got away with US$70 000. Four days later, business came to a standstill in the Bulawayo city centre when police cordoned off streets leading to the Fidelity Building where armed robbers sneaked out with US$6 270 as well as R5 000 from one of the offices in the 12-storey building.