Govt okays ‘shoot to kill’ policy

GOVERNMENT yesterday said it had given police the greenlight to shoot and kill suspected armed robbers who have become a menace in the past weeks, threatening to make the country ungovernable.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba announced the new measures yesterday as two more suspects involved in a shootout with law enforcement agents last week succumbed to the injuries, bringing the number of armed robbers shot dead during the weekend gunfire exchange to three.

One of the armed robbers who died yesterday was identified as Richard Mutanga.

“Guys, stop these armed robberies, you will die. I have warned you, the government will not hesitate. You are a dead man walking, trust me,” Charamba tweeted.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe also said government would, from now on, show no mercy on the armed robbers.

“The armed robbers are being accounted for. Seven notorious ones were accounted for on Sunday,” Kazembe said.

“Police will descend on them heavily and the long arm of the law will catch up with them,” he added.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi further said police had set up crack teams across the country to track down all suspected armed robbers and bring them to account.

“We are not going back and the crack teams that we set up are all over the country tracking the armed robbers, so to those who will try to hide, they will certainly be found and arrested,” he said.

“The public must rest in the comfort that the police currently are on top of the situation and we are tracking all known armed robbers as evidenced by what happened last weekend.

“So far, from those we arrested, three people have died. Yesterday, we were talking of one robber who died, now they are three. One of them died this (yesterday) morning.”

Three of the armed robbers later appeared before the courts yesterday and one of them was remanded in custody on his hospital bed.

The trio that appeared in court were identified as Valentine Mutasa, Godfrey Josi and his wife Juliet Gavaza. They were remanded to July 14 pending trial.

Peter Mushipe was also remanded in hospital to July 14.

The courts heard that the gang was involved in several armed robberies around Harare.

Josi is facing more than eight counts of armed robbery, while his accomplices have various counts of the same crime.

Allegations were that Josi and his accomplices went to the University of Zimbabwe compound on June 15 and stormed one of the directors, Weng Dong’s house where they stole US$22 000 after exchanging gun fire with him.

They also robbed Seedex Company on March 20 and went away with US$20 000.

During another robbery at Gateway School, the gang went away with US$250 000 after blowing the cash vaults at the school.

Last month, Home Affairs deputy minister Ruth Mavhungu-Maboyi told Parliament that the nation was now living in fear due to the armed robbers.

MPs said the police were ill-equipped in most cases to deal with the armed robbers and called on government to avail resources.

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