Sharon Buwerimwe, Chronicle Reporter
FIVE robbers armed with a pistol and iron bars allegedly pretended to be police officers, handcuffed a woman who was breastfeeding and put her in leg irons before choking her baby while demanding cash in Bulawayo’s Nkulumane suburb.
The gang allegedly stormed Mrs Precious Jiyane’s home around midday on Sunday and got away with US$100, RTGS$46 and five cell phones.
Mrs Jiyane, who appeared to be still in shock, yesterday told The Chronicle she got the fright of her life when the robbers returned and tried to break into her home around 2AM yesterday.
She said she was alone feeding her child on Sunday, as members of her family had gone to church, when the robbers barged into her house and introduced themselves as police officers.
Mrs Jiyane said they accused her of being a siphatheleni (illegal foreign currency dealer).
The robbers, she said, snatched her baby and force-marched her into a spare room.
“One of them cuffed me, put me in leg irons, tied me to a chair with a fleece blanket and locked me in the spare room. The others ransacked the house looking for cash,” she said.
Her husband who is a soldier was away at work.
Mrs Jiyane told The Chronicle she is not a siphatheleni but a vendor.
“The robber who cuffed me showed me his gun and threatened to shoot me if I made noise,” she said.
Mrs Jiyane said she was horrified, thinking the gang could rape her.
“They choked my baby when he started crying as the others turned the house upside down looking for money. These evil people choked my baby because they did not want his crying to attract our neighbours. I’m waiting for my husband so that we go to clinic together to get our baby checked. His throat appears injured,” she said.
She said after the robbers left, she managed to open the door with spare keys, screamed for help and her neighbours called the police.
“Officers from Nkulumane Police Station tried to remove cuffs with a pair of pliers but failed. We went to the police station where the leg irons and handcuffs were removed,” she said.
She said just when she thought her ordeal was over, the robbers returned in the wee hours of the morning.
“They broke a window. We screamed for help and they fled,” she said.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the incident.
However, she said instead of five stolen cell phones police recorded only three.
“Police are hunting the suspects who are still at large. The total value of the stolen items, excluding the US$100 is RTGS$913,” said Chief Insp Simango.
She commended Mrs Jiyane’s neighbours for calling the police saying fighting crime was a community initiative.