Local business people say they are now living in fear following a recent spate of armed robberies involving serving and former soldiers and policemen.
According to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), more than US$5 million was lost through robberies from January to October 2021. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Innocent Guyo, a jewellery trader said:
We are living in fear, what we are hearing in the news daily is shocking and to make it worse the robberies are involving soldiers and members of the police.
A former army officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said these robberies were linked to the dire economic situation facing the majority of Zimbabweans. He said:
People are exploring opportunities available to them to make a living. Politicians are looting national resources; civil servants are taking bribes. The soldiers and police are also using powers at their disposal to make money.
Unlike many countries in the region, Zimbabweans don’t trust their banking system owing to losses incurred from 2007 to 2009, hyperinflation era.
Therefore, everyone keeps money at home in the form of US currency and that is attracting criminals.
On 24 December 2021, two soldiers shot dead a man and injured his relative, in a $40 000 robbery heist in Hatfield, Harare.
On 6 December 2021, an on-duty soldier from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)’s elite commando regiment, Tariro Gora, was involved in the fatal shootout at former top police detective Joseph Nemaisa’s Chadcombe house.
Gora was shot dead on the scene by the former detective, together with his two accomplices.
Meanwhile, former Deputy Higher and Tertiary Education minister Godfrey Gandawa said the robbers were using guns stolen from the state armoury during the 2017 military coup.
At that time, the police and intelligence services were disarmed by soldiers as they were believed to be against the putsch. Gandawa tweeted:
The seemingly sudden wave of armed robberies involving members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is linked to the chaotic, unlawful, and dangerous takeover of armouries during the 2017 coup, where the police and intelligence services were disarmed without a formal handover-takeover process.
… It is unclear whether these weapons were returned to state custody. These weapons add a new dimension to Zimbabwe’s security situation.
More: Anadolu Agency