Two rogue members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) reportedly ganged up with five civilians, masquerading as police officers, to rob villagers on the pretext that they were on official duty looking for illegal firearms and gold in Filabusi, Insiza District, in Matabeleland South province.

The two soldiers, Nhanhla Moyo and Fortune Ndlovu, both aged 29 and stationed at 4 Brigade in Masvingo were not asked to plead guilty while appearing before Gwanda magistrate, Ndumiso Khumalo together with Noah Njanji (31) from Makokoba, and Farai Thabu (33) from Cowdray Park suburb facing two counts of robbery.

The criminal quartet was remanded in custody to September 17, while their other three accomplices are still at large.

It is alleged that when they committed the crimes, three members of the notorious syndicate garbed army uniforms while two were in police uniforms, with the other two spotting civilian gear.

It is the state’s case that the seven-member gang raided two homesteads in the early hours of August 25, wielding a baton and two machetes before stealing property valued at a cost of 12 000 South African Rands.

“On 25 August at around 12 midnight the accused persons who were wearing army uniforms, police uniforms and plain clothes while armed with a baton and machetes arrived at the first complainant’s homestead in a Nissan Note vehicle belonging to the first accused person,” said Ethel Mahachi, who prosecuted.

She said upon arrival, the criminal septet knocked on the door while claiming to be members of the security forces who were conducting investigations searching for gold and firearms and ordered the complainant to open the door.

“He opened the door and the accused persons assaulted him and his wife while demanding gold and firearms. They tied his hands and feet and force-marched him to his bedroom. They took R5 000, US$700, $200, a battery, two solar inverters, an Open View decoder, some groceries and four cellphones. One of the accused persons Nhlanhla Moyo then grabbed the woman and tried to rape her but she screamed, prompting him to leave her and they fled from the homestead,” Mahachi said.

The court also heard that the gang then proceeded to Obert Nzama’s homestead in Siyaphansi Village, Filabusi, and knocked on the door claiming to be members of the security forces.

Mahachi further told the court Pretty Mbangene, who is heavily pregnant, opened the door and the accused persons assaulted her with a baton and electric cord.

They are said to have then tied Mbangene’s hands to the back before force-marching the helpless woman into her bedroom while demanding gold and firearms.

According to the prosecutor, the notorious heptad took two solar batteries, two solar inverters, an Open View decoder, groceries, three pairs of shoes and a Nissan NP300 vehicle.

They then reportedly drove off towards Bulawayo along the Zvishavane-Mbalabala Road and joined the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road.

“The gang then dumped the stolen vehicle just after Mbalabala Filling Station after it had run out of fuel. They opened the bonnet and stole the car battery. The matter was reported to the police who managed to recover the dumped vehicle. The accused persons were arrested on August 28 in Bulawayo. An Open View decoder and solar inverter were recovered following their arrest,” said Mahachi.

state media
Additional Reporting: Zwnews