FOUR highway robbers fired a gun shot before pulling a woman from a vehicle and gang-raping her, police said yesterday.
A haulage truck driver and his male passenger were robbed of their belongings and stripped naked in the incident on Monday night near the Mahatshula North suburb turn-off in Bulawayo.
Police say they are looking for four men who are believed to be armed and dangerous. They have appealed to the public for help to arrest the gang.
A haulage truck driver stopped for the four men in Shangani and offered them a lift to Bulawayo. The truck already had three other passengers — another driver whose haulage truck had developed a mechanical fault and two women, according to national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi.
Chief Supt Nyathi said the four men, who pretended to be innocent hitchhikers, turned out to be criminals.
After picking up the quartet, Chief Supt Nyathi said one of the female passengers disembarked at Kombo in Insiza. “As they reached Mahatshula turn-off, one of the four men told the driver that he had reached his drop off point.
“After disembarking, he went to the left side of the haulage truck, which is the driver’s side, while his accomplices remained inside,” he said.
After raping her, the suspects robbed and stripped the driver and his male passenger before disappearing into the darkness.
“The three — the female, the driver and male passenger — were assisted by members of the public with clothing before they took them to a police station to report the incident. They were robbed of valuables including cellphones, money and clothes among other things,” he said.
Chief Supt Nyathi urged members of the public who may have information that may lead to the arrest of the four criminals to come forward.
He urged motorists to desist from offering lifts to strangers as they risked falling victim to criminal gangs.
“We want to encourage motorists, be it haulage truck drivers or private vehicle drivers, not to divert from the purpose of the journey and start picking up passengers no matter how desperate they seem.
“Some of the hitchhikers are turning out to be criminals,” he said.