Police have arrested a soldier from the One Commando regiment and a police officer from the support unit for allegedly robbing a Beitbridge man of 30 boxes of export quality cigarettes worth R95 000.
The duo is alleged to have committed the offence in the company of another soldier and five civilians who are still at large in Dumba area on January 19.
The security men are part of a team recently deployed to the boundary with South Africa to curb crime that is costing the Government an estimated US$1 billion in uncollected import duty annually. The gang is also accused of robbing another man in Dulivhadzimu of R8 800.
Corporal History Sibanda (One Commando) and Constable Sheperd Gatsi (Support Unit Chikurubi) and Derek Mudau of Dumba Village in Beitbridge have been charged for armed robbery and are expected to appear in court today.
The police are reported to be pursuing four others including another soldier from the One Commando Regiment.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, sources close to investigations said the suspects pounced on Banaboy Mabvugwa of Elliot Mutavhatsindi homestead in Dumba while in uniform and armed with AK47 rifles.
“Upon arrival at the complainant’s homestead, one of the soldiers broke the door of the room where Mabvugwa was sleeping.
“The soldier entered the room flashing the victim with a torch and ordering him to remain still and not to make any noise to alert neighbours while the other ransacked the house and tied all the four occupants together with shoe laces,” said the source who preferred anonymity.
According to the official, four other civilians arrived at the scene driving a Nissan Atlas truck (white in colour) and loaded 30 boxes of Express Royal Cigarettes worth R95 000 and all the suspects disappeared. When the gang had left, Mabvugwa managed to go outside the house and called for help from neighbours who then untied the family members. A report was then made to the police.
“After committing the offence, the gang went to Beitbridge town and hid the loot at an unfinished building at Shule Shule Business Centre in Kwalu 1 Suburb. They then engaged one Isheunesu Chimwaro to look for buyers of the cigarettes, who in turn sold 20 boxes on the following day for R30 000 and the money was collected by one of their accomplices who is still at large. Later that day, Sibanda in the company of one of his two co-accused (outstanding ZNA members) went to Chimwaro and accused him of giving the loot money to a wrong person, and robbed him of his ZAR6 200 and went away,” said the official.
It is further alleged that Sibanda kept nagging Chimwaro for another payment of R8 800 until his arrest by the police together with Gatsi and Mudau. Army spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said he was yet to get details on the matter.
“I will get back to you when I get full details on that matter,” he said.