Saturday, 18 December 2021

DISMISSED COP'S REIGN OF TERROR

 FRANCIS Takura, a 33-year-old former member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), has been unleashing a reign of terror, leading a group of robbers who have been implicated in a spate of armed attacks.

He is among the two suspects who survived a shootout at ex-police detective Inspector Joseph Nemaisa’s house in Chadcombe, Harare.

It is now emerging that Takura was part of a group that robbed victims in well-executed movie style raids, escaping with over US$52 000 in cash and valuables running into thousands of dollars.

In all cases recorded, they were said to have been armed heavily, brandishing war rifles and wearing balaclavas, which are synonymous with armed gangs in western movies.

The gang tried, by all means, to leave no traces of evidence.

An AK-47 is mentioned in all the alleged cases of armed robbery that Takura and his gang executed.

Contacted for comment on the firearms — which are suspected to be stolen from the army — Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Elphios Makotore, asked for e-mailed questions but had not responded at the time of publication.

Takura reportedly turned rogue after his dismissal from the police force for a misdemeanour in 2018, before he teamed up with five others for armed robbery sprees.

Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, confirmed that indeed Takura was an ex-member of the police force who was dismissed three years ago.

“We said it during investigations. We issued a statement that Takura was a member of the police who was dismissed in 2018,” he said.

Takura was allegedly part of a gang of at least five men that raided the home of Nemaisa a fortnight ago.

Nemaisa, who was not home, reacted to a distress call from his son and rushed home and within minutes he engaged the gang, who were all wearing balaclavas, killing three on the spot, two of them soldiers.

Takura and another soldier, Private Virimai Nyandoro (37), escaped the shooting before they were later arrested.

The ‘rogue’ cop and his gang’s modus operandi was one plucked off a script of western movies, as they pounced on unsuspecting victims in balaclavas, armed with arms of war. They would rob their victims of their valuables before disappearing into the night without firing shots. When Takura and his gang appeared in court, it emerged that they are suspected to be behind 12 unrelated cases of armed robbery.

Charges against Takura are that they robbed three complainants, Mr James Rikonda, Mr Learnmore Ushe and Mr Tichaona Maworere of Hatfield. On November 5, 2021 at around 3am, Mr Rikonda was sleeping at home when he heard footsteps in the passage.

Takura, who was in the company of four other accomplices, suddenly appeared at the door. One of them was brandishing a war rifle, an AK47 rifle, and the other a pistol.

The court was told that the gang ordered Mr Rikonda and his wife to lie down and remain silent, while they demanded cash.

They allegedly ransacked the house and stole US$11 550, an iPhone 12 pro max, a pair of Timberland shoes, a baby bag, a Rolex wrist watch, and a Norinco pistol.

Takura and his gang, it is alleged, then demanded keys for Mr Rikonda’s Toyota Hilux GD6 and force-marched him and his wife into the vehicle. They drove him to his workplace where he was ordered to open the safe, which was emptied of US$10 000.

Mr Ushe, who is Mr Rikonda’s neighbour, fell victim when he was found standing outside his room when the gang returned to the Mr Rikonda residence.

He was allegedly assaulted and robbed of a laptop and a Xiaomi Note 7 mobile phone.

They also allegedly robbed Mr Maworere of five mobile phones, six pairs of shoes, jewellery and two laptops.

Mr Rikonda’s stolen Norinco pistol was abandoned by the robbers at Nemaisa’s house during the robbery. Takura was the first to be charged and investigations were still in progress in the Nemaisa robbery in which over US$800, a laptop and shotgun were stolen.

Takura was remanded in custody to December 28 by Harare magistrate, Ms Barbra Mateko.

Mr Anesu Chirenje represented the State. Sunday Mail

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