Harare (New Ziana) – Police on Monday arrested Bright Zhantali (30), who is accused of raping and killing nine women across Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces.
In a statement, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said Zhantali was suspected of committing the crimes between 14 January 2022 and 12 March 2022, in Hwedza, Goromonzi, Marondera and Macheke.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms the arrest of a serial rapist and murder suspect Bright Zhantali (30) who caused panic and fear in Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces.
“Police arrested Bright Zhantali on 19 March 2022 in Goromonzi for nine counts of murder and rape cases which occurred during the period 14th January 2022 to 12th March 2022, in Hwedza, Goromonzi, Marondera and Macheke. All the victims were women,” he said.
In the first incident, Zhantali allegedly attacked Mercy Simairi (28)on 14th January 2022 at Roughlands Farm, Marondera after raping and strangling her to death.
On 16th January, 2022, the suspect allegedly pounced on Chipo Gwese (40) at Ndudzo Village, Hwedza and killed her after being intimate with her.
He allegedly employed the same tactic on 20 January in Marondera and killed Betty Mlambo after being intimate with her.
On 31 January, Zhantali allegedly waylaid and attacked Stella Zuze (54) along Bronton Road in Goromonzi after demanding some cash from her. He stole USD$30 and a cell phone.
Zhantali allegedly used the same modus operandi and killed Fadzai Muchadenyika in Macheke on 23 February, and Meggiee Kaomba on 11 March in Marondera before pouncing on Petronella Tsoka at Yellow City in the same town and killed her after raping her.
On an unknown date in February, Zhantali allegedly hooked up with an unidentified woman at a nightclub in Marondera before he raped and murdered her behind Cherutombo High school.
Nyathi said Zhantali has led the police to nine crime scenes which led to the discovery of two bodies in an advanced state of decomposition.
The suspect has also indicated that he committed other murder cases in Rusape, Mutare and Nyanga, police said.
“Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has intensified patrols and investigations to ensure that all criminal elements targeting innocent women face the long arm of the law,” said Nyathi.