AT least six robberies are being committed in Zimbabwe daily, highlighting the threats that citizens face from brutal criminals and thugs, latest statistics from the police have revealed.
In response to the rising robbery cases, police say they have set up specialised crack teams of detectives targeting the masterminds of such robberies.
According to consolidated robbery statistics released to The Sunday Mail by the Zimbabwe Republic Police last week, 876 robbery cases were recorded between January and May this year, an increase compared to the same period last year.
During this period, there were 11 cases of robbery perpetrated using firearms, 427 committed using other weapons and 438 cases of plain robbery.
May had the most robbery activity with a total of 189 cases recorded, an increase of 95 cases compared to last year.
According to the police, most of the victims were attacked at night.
“Statistics are for robbery cases of people who have been robbed at their bus stops or footpaths in their neighbourhoods due to travelling at night,” reads a police statement.
“The statistics are for 10 provinces in Zimbabwe and provide a comparison of robbery cases that occurred from January 2020 to May 2020 with the same period of 2021.”
The police have escalated the fight against all forms of robbery and have given a stern warning to criminals saying the long arm of the law will catch up with them.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned robbers that they should not expect any leniency when they shoot at the police as officers are empowered by the law to protect themselves and effect arrests against hostile criminals.
“When people commit crimes, they should not resist arrest or police orders,” he said.
“So robbers who fire towards the police should not expect any leniency because the law is very clear in terms of how firearms can be used against hostile criminals.
“We are forging ahead with fishing them out and we have set up crack teams throughout the country, we are not going back. Those engaged in robbery should stop forthwith.”
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said while the Government has not adopted a shoot-to-kill policy when dealing with robbers, as has been reported in some sections of the media, law enforcement agents will ruthlessly crackdown on robbers.
He said he had directed the police to leave no stone unturned in their quest to flush out all armed robbers from society.
“Police are guided by the Police Act and the Constitution,” Minister Kazembe said.
“As they execute their mandate they will do their utmost in accordance with the law to apprehend criminals.
“They will apply appropriate force as and where necessary. People are urged to co-operate with the police when asked to do so. Any form of illegal or unwarranted resistance will be met with an appropriate response. Police are there to maintain law and order.”
Minister Kazembe said robbers or any other criminals are warned not to dare the ZRP.
Recently, police apprehended a number of notorious armed robbery suspects including the Godfrey Josi-led gang, which was implicated in multiple heists.
Members of the Josi-led gang that are currently assisting police with investigations include Josi himself, his wife-cum suspected partner in crime Juliet Gavaza, Zvidozvashe Zuda, Peter Mushipe and Valentine Mutasa.
Another member of Josi’s gang, Decide Rice of Devon Farm in Kadoma is on the run, while Benjamin Craig Musasa and Richard Mutanga were killed after gun battles with law enforcement agents.
Last month, police also arrested another gang of armed robbers led by Spicer Takawira and Musafare Mupamhanga who are believed to be part of convicted armed robber, Musa Taj Abdul’s gang.