Judge Jarachara, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE in Bulawayo have launched a number of crime-curbing initiatives that have started to bear fruit, with community engagement strategies paying off.
After a rise in criminal activities in the city, police upped their game to bring safety and peace into communities.
Criminal gangs had been on the rampage, with the criminal activities reaching a crescendo last week as a gang randomly went in and around Mabutweni suburb axing up to a dozen people, resulting in two fatalities.
Police responded by instituting stop-and-search points in the city to deter criminal activities and also moved to shut down bars that have been operating in violation of Covid-19 regulations.
There have since been deployments to western suburbs to deal with illegal fuel dealers and other criminal activities.
Night patrols have been launched in suburbs such as Khumalo and Parklands suburbs.
The increased police deployments and community engagements have resulted in the arrest of three suspects who are part of a gang of armed robbers who axed two people in Mabutweni suburb last week.
The three suspects, together with other gang members who are on the run, allegedly went on a rampage and axed everyone they met on their way in Mabutweni suburb.
Kholisani Nyathi (27) of Mabutweni Suburb, Nkosikhona Sibanda of Lobengula West (25) and Walter Mpunzi (27) of Lobengula West who were arrested following a tip-off from the members of the public are also facing several counts of theft of car parts committed in 2020 and 2021.
Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the arrests.
“Following these disturbing crimes, deployments were made and vigorous investigations were carried out leading to the arrest of the three accused persons in connection with several murder cases and robbery cases.
“Those who were robbed including those who did not report should come and report to CID homicide to make identifications. This is because a number of cases are being cleared,” he said.
Insp Ncube said police have recovered a lot of properties in connection with the crimes committed by the three.
Cellphones that were stolen from the suspects robbery and murder victims were recovered.
Insp Ncube urged members of the public to report people with deviant behaviours to the police so as to ensure that they are investigated by the police.
He further warned members of the public to desist from carrying dangerous weapons such as knives, machetes, axes and firearms as these are mostly used to commit crime in and around the city.
The three suspects arrested following the Mabutweni suburb axing spree have since appeared in court.
Nyathi, Sibanda and Mpunzi appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Racheal Mukanga and they were not asked to plead.
They are facing two counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder, two counts of robbery and six counts of unlawful entry and theft.
Appearing for the state, Miss Ashley Dube said on May 12 in Pelandaba West suburb, the three hatched a plan to rob people during the night.
They allegedly met Misheck Rindai Mapeta (54) of Pelandaba West who was walking along a footpath in the company of his wife Sarudzai Portia Showa (43).
Miss Dube, said they struck Mapeta with an axe and a knobkerrie and also stabbed him. They fled from the scene after stealing his torch and their victim later succumbed to the injuries. Showa, a National University of Science and Technology senior lecturer, managed to escape. She alerted neighbours who accompanied her to the scene where they found him lying unconsciously in a pool of blood and he later died.
Miss Dube said the following day, the gang killed another man near Benjamin Burombo street in Mabutweni.
“On May 13, the three attacked and killed a man who was walking in a footpath near a stream which demarcates Mabutweni and Njube Suburbs near B Burombo road in Mabutweni. The accused persons struck the now deceased Joseph Mawa Moyo (63) of Mabutweni suburb with an axe twice on the head. The now deceased sustained two deep cuts on the head and was taken to Mpilo Hospital for treatment where he died the following day,” said Miss Dube.
She said on the same day they also went on an axing spree leaving seven people injured.
Nyathi allegedly struck a man on the left arm with an axe in the same suburb and his victim was taken to Mpilo Central Hospitals. On the same day at around 6.05PM in Mabutweni suburb, Nyathi also struck a man from the same suburb twice on the forehead with an axe the victim was taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals.
At around 6.15PM the three attacked and struck a man who was walking unarmed with an axe in Mabutweni suburb. After committing the crime, they ran away. Around 6.20PM the same day, the three met other men in the same suburb whom they attacked randomly with an axe. — @jdgjarachara.