Armed robbers target rural communities

By Mvelo Mthiyane Zondo


DURING yester-years, armed robberies and car hijacking were only popular in urban set-ups
but the trend has changed as armed robbers have shifted focus and are targeting rural farmers
who would have sold their cattle, and business communities.
This has brought fear to the peace-loving rural communities who used to either sleep outside
or would put up in unsecured houses.
A community-based anti-crime group known as Gohole Village Vulture Team (GASTA) and
whose chairperson is Victor Sibanda, said they experienced a lot of robberies and car-
jackings in their communities.
“Recently, we have been experiencing a lot of armed robberies and car hijackings in our rural
communities. We have since teamed up with police in order to fight this crime.
“Some of the armed robberies are perpetrated by our own sons and yet their parents are
defending them.
“However, as a crack unit, we are leaving no stone unturned in a bid to flush out these rotten
apples,” warned the chairperson Sibanda.
On Monday they had a busy day, after they teamed up with the police from Shanyaugwe base
to arrest the armed robbers who were terrorising community members.
Innocent villagers from Ngoma and Shanyaugwe area live in fear for their lives and property.
“These criminals, who were armed with a pistol, axes and other dangerous weapons would
beat up villagers and take away their cellphones and other valuable belongings.
“On Sunday they used a metal bar to break into Shanyaugwe Primary School office and
opened a security safe although there was no cash in it.

“We then called the Dispol, who quickly deployed a team, which came to Shanyaugwe
heavily armed as we had told them that the gang leader, Kepeletsoe Ndlovu, was armed with
a pistol.
“The armed robber had earlier on tried to rape a shop employee but was not successful,”
narrated Sibanda, adding that a fire arm was recovered while some of the stolen gadgets,
which were hidden at Dendele River and were fished out.
Two of other suspects from Ngoma area, Rinaile and Petition, are on the run.
There is concern that some of the armed robberies involve serving and retired members of the
security forces such as the army and the police.
Matabeleland South Provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Thandolwenkosi
Moyo, confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm having received a report about Shanyaugwe armed robbery. The culprits have
been arrested.
“We would want to thank the community for assisting police and we urge them to continue
with the spirit. To those who are in possession of unregistered firearms, the long arm of the
law will soon catch up with you.
“From the Shanyaugwe robbers, police recovered a CZ pistol,” said Ass. Insp. Moyo as he
urged members of the community to report all suspected criminals to the police.

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