The Sunday News
CASES of residents falling victim to armed robbers have been on the increase in recent months, with the latest victim being a Cowdray Park woman in Bulawayo who was raided at her home by gun-toting robbers.
Our sister paper, Chronicle reported last week that three men wielding an AK-47 rifle allegedly raided a suspected illegal money changer from Cowdray Park and got away with $5 000 and US$700 after firing some shots. The suspects raided Ms Abishel Madika’s home while she was asleep.
Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the armed robbery case which occurred last Sunday at about 4am.
He said investigating officers who attended the scene found two live rounds from the AK-47 rifle at the scene.
Last month, another gun-toting gang besieged five homesteads in Fort Rixon area in Insiza District, Matabeleland South and got away with money and cellphones and a week later, a 10-man gang, also brandishing an AK-47 rifle and more than two pistols reportedly invaded the home of a businessman in Esigodini and stole $80 000, US$3 500, R15 000 and airtime worth $10 000.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the businessman received a call from his wife alerting him that there were suspicious people armed with guns close to the home.
The businessman then drove out of his home to check and that is when the robbers took the opportunity to invade his home.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the gang fired shots towards the man who fled from the scene in his car.
The gang remained behind and assaulted his wife demanding cash. She gave them money and airtime before they fled the scene.
These incidents are part of many cases being investigated by the police. And what has been a cause for concern has been the rise of daring armed robbers, who appear to have no regard for human life at all. The majority of people who have fallen victim are businesspeople and illegal money changers, while commuters have also fallen victim to robbers who use unlicensed taxis.
For our society to be safe, police have to deal with criminals. What is certain is that these criminals live among people in our communities, and someone knows them. We therefore urge residents to report to the police if they suspect any member of the community to be engaging in criminal activities. People can visit the police, make phone calls or use suggestion boxes so that police will be able to track and arrest whoever is found to be have committed any crime.
It should be the responsibility of each and every citizen to identify criminal elements and report them to the police. Those that provide sanctuary to criminals are accomplices in crime and should not cry foul when police pounce on them.
“We appeal to members of the public who might have information on the suspects to come forward. Our teams are on the ground to get to the bottom of this matter. As police we recently issued prohibition orders banning the public from carrying dangerous weapons but we have observed that some members of the public have not complied with the prohibition orders.
“To us any gun which is in the wrong hands is a matter of concern. It does not have to be an AK-47 rifle but any weapon which finds its way into the wrong hands is a concern to us. We are scaling up our investigation to ensure that the public is protected from such criminals,” said Insp Ncube.