Armed robbers pounce on 7 schools in 18 days

14 May, 2024 - 08:05 0 Views
Armed robbers pounce on 7 schools in 18 days Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

The Sunday News

Harare Bureau 

At least seven schools experienced armed robberies in the last fortnight, some of them feared to be inside jobs, as criminals sought cash and other valuables after the second term began.

The acceptance of fees in cash rather than electronic transfers or direct bank payments, has enticed the criminals that have grabbed cash and valuable property such as laptops and tablets.

In all cases the main target was cash.

Most of the robberies occurred during the night between April 25 and May 13, using almost the same modus operandi of attacking security guards before getting away with cash and valuables.

One of the robberies was in broad daylight in Warren Park, Harare, where six men posing as parents intending to pay school fees or looking for places for their children, suddenly pointed a pistol at the headmaster before getting away with cash.

Most of the cases occurred around Harare, Chitungwiza and Kadoma, with police setting up a special team of detectives to investigate these robberies.

National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi last night confirmed the seven cases reported between April 25 and May 13, amid suspicions that some could be inside jobs.

“We have always warned school authorities to make sure that fees and related payments are deposited through financial institutions. We discourage parents from making cash payments at school premises. It appears some of these suspects will be having inside information, so definitely there is a need for school authorities to ensure there is no cash at school premises,” he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said on May 7, at Warren Park 3 Primary School, robbers grabbed US$1 500 during day time, when people were paying fees. The gang pointed a pistol at the headmaster, Mr Batsirai Mhosira (54), demanding all the money at the school. Mr Mhosira was ordered to lie on

the floor and his hands were tied. The four armed robbers then force marched school bursar, Ms Grace Hwekwete (50), at gunpoint to the safe from which they took all the money.

The robbers dragged the bursar to the headmaster’s office, tied her hands and took away her handbag and cellphone. They locked the headmaster’s office and drove off from the school.

The attack was witnessed by some parents who were at the school premises.

Asst Comm Nyathi said on April 25 at Lytton Primary School in Harare, armed robbers attacked a security guard during the night and took away US$265 from a safe and several laptops.

On April 28 at Tafadzwa Primary School in Unit L, Seke, armed robbers raided the school at 2am and also attacked a security guard. They only managed to get away with two laptops valued at US$677 after failing to find any cash.

Asst Comm Nyathi said on April 30 at Widdicombe Primary School in Hatfield, about six suspected robbers arrived at the school at around 6pm, where they stole US$2 772 cash and fuel coupons. The total value of the stolen valuables was US$5 300.

On May 8 at Ngezi Salvation Army Secondary School in Kadoma, robbers stole US$1 000 and US$180 from a caretaker.

Ass Comm Nyathi said on May 10 at Glen Norah 2 High School, robbers stole US$1 900 after attacking a security guard.

At George Stark High in Mbare on the same day, robbers stole laptops valued at US$1 500.

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