Police have launched a massive operation targeting pirate taxis mostly unregistered Toyota Wish, Honda Fit and Toyota Vitz vehicles following an increase in armed robbery and rape cases countrywide, as they continue to declare war on criminals.
The police are also conducting awareness campaigns urging people to desist from boarding such type of vehicles.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they were concerned with such cases and that people are not taking heed of their warnings as they continue falling prey to these criminals.
“We are concerned over an increase in robbery cases which are being used to commit armed robberies and rape cases countrywide and we would want to continue urging people to prioritise their safety and security by desisting from boarding such vehicles as this would expose them to criminals.
“Besides arrests of armed robbers by the police, we have launched an operation targeting pirate taxis and we are also conducting awareness campaigns countrywide,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said what is worrisome was that some of these cases occur during the night when they expected people to be complying with the national lockdown regulations. The warning comes after another 23-year-old Harare woman was robbed of US$6 and raped by two of the three armed robbers who had offered her a lift in Greencroft area before she was dumped along Westwood Road in Kambuzuma, Harare last Friday afternoon.
The robbers, including a woman were travelling in an unregistered Toyota Wish when they offered the victim a lift to the city centre at around 1400hours. It is alleged that along the way, one of the robbers suddenly grabbed her neck before being blindfolded with a cloth.
Police said the robbers then searched her and took away the money and a Techno cellphone before the other ones took turns to rape her while she was blindfolded.
The robbers then dumped her in Kambuzuma area and disappeared.
Asst Comm Nyathi said no arrests have been made and investigations are still in progress. He urged the public to desist from pirate taxis as they might end up falling prey to criminals.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police reiterates that members of the public must avoid boarding mushikashika vehicles.
“On August 13, 2021 a Harare woman aged 23 was gang-raped by two men after she boarded an unmarked Toyota Wish vehicle with three occupants including one woman along Westwood Drive.
“The suspects also stole her US$6 and a Techno cellphone,” he said.
Recently, two Harare women were robbed and raped in separate incidents after being offered lifts by armed robbers in unregistered Toyota Wish vehicles.
Another Harare man was also robbed by robbers using a Toyota Wish last week and there are reports that robbery gangs offering lifts are active in Harare.
Police are still investigating these rape incidents and robberies committed by gangs using silver or white Toyota Wishes.
Last Thursday at 11.45am, a 24-year-old man was robbed of a cellphone and cash, all valued at US$487, after boarding a silver Toyota Wish at Newlands roundabout.
On the same day at around noon, a woman aged 21 was raped and robbed of US$70, $320 and other valuables after boarding an unregistered silver Toyota Wish along Chiremba Road, Hatfield.
The next day at around 11.45am, another woman aged 23 was also raped after boarding an unregistered white Toyota Wish with two men aboard near Mufakose High 1, on her way to Budiriro.