In an incident that looks like a clip from some gong-grabbing Hollywood action movie, a group of eight armed robbers Sunday reportedly raided the Bulawayo High Court, and gained entry into the court’s criminal registry, leaving one police officer hospitalised.
Armed with pistols, the notorious eight, whose actual intentions remain a mystery, are said to have attacked and disarmed the two police officers manning the court premises, and forced their way into the court building before gaining entry into the criminal registry.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the robbery to the state media.
“We are investigating an armed robbery case which occurred at the Bulawayo High Court yesterday morning at 4AM. It is said about eight suspects went to the court and attacked two officers who were on duty and these suspects were armed with pistols,” AssComm Nyathi said.
“After attacking them, they blindfolded one of the officers. They then tried to force open the court’s main safe to the criminal registry’s office using a key. After failing, they tried again to use a grinder and, in the process, it is alleged that they were making phone calls,” he said.
After their attempts failed to bear any fruit, AssComm Nyathi said, the eight armed assailants tied the hands and legs of one of the police officers.
He was understandably stingy with details of where the officer who sustained some serious injuries is admitted to.
Added the police force publicist:
“They attacked him using their weapons. He is being treated at a hospital in Bulawayo, but we cannot reveal where he is receiving treatment,” he said. These guys had inside information and we want to establish the motive behind the robbery and the attack on the officers. We are therefore leaving no stone unturned in our quest to get to the bottom of this case and apprehend the suspects. The law will definitely take its course”.
According to Judicial Service Commission (JSC) spokesperson Rumbidzai Takawira, the Commission had deployed a team from Harare to assess the situation on the ground.
“We have a team that is going there to ascertain what really transpired and we can only have information tomorrow (today),” she said.
A legal expert who spoke to state media said an exhibit safe room can contain files or prosecution documents for suspects appearing before the courts.
The expert said even valuables that are confiscated when arresting suspects can be stored in the court’s registry.
“A crime registry can store exhibits which include weapons used by criminals in committing crimes. The exhibits are very vital in the prosecution process and probably these robbers wanted to steal these exhibits or destroy important documents,” said the expert.
In May this year a gang of robbers who were armed with an FN rifle pounced on the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) depot in Bulawayo and threatened to shoot security guards manning the premises if they dared raise an alarm.
They later tied the guards’ hands using a rope.
The robbers got away with a consignment of 148 boxes of Broncleer, a cough mixture which was banned over abuse as a euphoric drug, whose street value is US$20 000.
additional reporting: Zwnews