Rejoyce Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
HIS face covered in scars, bandages and stitches, one can feel the pain he is going through when he carefully and slowly narrates from his hospital bed how his family was viciously attacked by 10 armed robbers on Monday morning at home in Cowdray Park.
Mr Nqobile Ngwenya (23), a final year final year Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering student at the National University of Science and Technology said his family retired to bed at around 10PM on Sunday after he was done with his university presentation that he was supposed to submit the next day.
At around 2AM, the armed robbers pounced.
He was axed eight times on the head.
“At around 2 in the morning I was awakened by my mother screaming. I then rushed to her room to see what was happening and surprisingly I found a man in her room who was choking her and pointing a knife at her. When my younger sister heard our mother screaming, she ran and hid behind a couch in the sitting room. The moment I tried to talk to the man to let go of my mother, the other men came from behind me and axed my head and I fell down. They did not give me any chance at that moment as they also hit me with sticks, planks and one of them took a garden fork that was in the house and plucked out my eye and left it hanging,” said Mr Ngwenya.
He showed a Chronicle news crew the severe injuries that he suffered on his head and face which the robbers mostly targeted.
There are other not so serious injuries on his neck, shoulders, arms and hands that he used to try and defend himself with.
He said every time he told the robbers to leave his mother alone, he was struck with an axe on the head and beaten up. He said he was struck about eight times on the head.
Mr Ngwenya said he is the only one who was injured seriously as he kept on defending his mother. He said his younger sister was not attacked because she hid behind the couch in a corner where they were ordered to sit.
“My resistance kept the situation heated up. The robbers dragged us to the lounge and ordered us to sit down while they searched the house. When they could not find money and what they probably expected to find, they became very violent, demanded money and phones from us and they kept beating me up. They searched the whole house but did not go into my room so they did not take my phone, laptop or anything that was in there,” he said.
His mother, Mrs Nokuthula Ngwenya (46), said the men were not wearing any masks to cover their faces.
The family does not know any of them.
Mrs Ngwenya said she thinks the armed robbers came with a car as they were passing goods they stole from the house over the fence.
She said they took her passport and national identification card, television set, mobile phones, cooking pots and a solar battery.
“None of us heard the door opening and about 10 men were in the house. I have a younger brother who lives in South Africa who visits me from time to time when he is in Bulawayo so I think these robbers thought I had a lot of money because they kept on referring to me as ‘indazula’ (someone from South Africa who has a lot of money)”.
It is a very sad and terrible thing that happened to us, especially my son who no longer has his right eye and has a deep fracture on where the eye was plucked out. I am not even sure where these people could have come from because we had just recently moved into the area,” said Mrs Ngwenya.
She said armed robbers went and came back for the second time after about 20 minutes demanding that she gives them her daughter who is 12 years old but she refused and they went away. She suspects that they wanted the daughter to tell them where the money or valuable assets were.
She said before they finally went away, they poured water on them.
Mrs Ngwenya said her daughter is traumatised about the whole incident and does not want to stay in the family house that they were attacked in anymore.
“My neighbours heard me screaming but they were afraid to come out as most of them were ladies and there was nothing they could possibly do. I am glad that one of them alerted a male adult from the neighbourhood to go and report to the police. The challenge that we faced was that there was one police officer on duty that early morning and so reporting was delayed as the man who assisted us had to go and report to another station. The police then came to the scene and wrote the report and I called one of my church friends to come and take my son to the hospital and he arrived at Mpilo hospital at around past three,” said Mrs Ngwenya.
She said from Mpilo Central Hospital, her son was referred to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for further treatment.
She also appealed to people for assistance to cover medical bills for her son who is getting treatment at UBH.
Mrs Ngwenya can be reached on 0778 096 871 or 0773 738 599
Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said the accused persons stole a 42-inch plasma television, a Huawei P9, a mobicel and Nokia 1280 phones and a 12 volts light solar battery.
“Police in Bulawayo are investigating a case of robbery, unlawful entry that took place in Cowdray Park on Monday. We are appealing to members of the public with information that may lead to the arrest of the accused persons to visit any nearest police station,” said Insp Ncube. – @ReeSibanda