Codelia Mondela, Chronicle Reporter
A BUSINESSMAN from Inyathi lost $800 and property worth more than $2 000 in a hair-raising one-hour-ordeal with 10 armed robbers who held his family hostage.
The thugs who were wielding two pistols, iron bars and hammers, allegedly tried to rape three women from the eleven-member family as they demanded valuables on Friday around 10PM.
Mr Wilson Maphosa (46), the manager of Rio De Ore mine who owns a shop and bar at the mine, yesterday told The Chronicle that his attackers conversed in Shona and English.
“Ten heavily armed men suddenly appeared as I was closing the bar. The family house is in the same building with the bar,” said Mr Maphosa.
He said the men rounded up everyone in the house and dragged his wife to the bedroom.
“They took the keys to my safe and opened it. They took my gun that was loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition. They started assaulting my children and wife with fists, iron bars and hammers while demanding to know where I kept money,” said Mr Maphosa.
“They covered the upper bodies of the women including their faces and removed their undergarments. They ordered them to open their legs as one of them went to look for condoms. It is by God’s grace that they did not rape them because they were disturbed by some noise outside.”
He said the robbers then turned on him and started assaulting him while demanding cash and gold which they said they knew was somewhere in the house.
“One of them pressed my neck down with both feet as he opened the fridge to get beer. I could hear my wife screaming from the bedroom and my relatives were also calling for help,” said Mr Maphosa.
“Move over, hauzivi ku torture munhu (you don’t know how to torture a person), they would say as I maintained there was no gold on the premises.”
The businessman said he feared the robbers were going to kill him and his family as they made no attempt to hide their faces. “They tied me inside the bar and forced me to lie next to my 19-year-old daughter. I thought I was going to die,” Mr Maphosa said.
“There was $800 which they took but I think one of them hid it. The one who appeared to be the leader asked the others to show him how much money they had collected and they produced a few notes and a handful of coins. They started arguing among themselves,” he said.
Mr Maphosa said the ordeal dragged on for about an hour before the gang decided to leave.
“They threatened to rape my daughter before taking away my 18-year-old niece. She managed to escape and ran into the bush.
“Six of them proceeded to the shop where they took kapenta, surf, mayonnaise, loose biscuits and rice worth more than $1 600. From the bar, they took a crate of black label beers, two packs of savanna and a 40 inch plasma television set. They also took six cellphones worth $500.”
Mr Maphosa said when the robbers left, his wife ran to the bush screaming in search of his niece.
He said the family was relieved to find her unharmed although she was shaken.
“We only got a cellphone thirty minutes after the robbery and called the police who only attended the scene the following morning,” he said.
Mr Maphosa said police had by yesterday arrested three of the suspects.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Siphiwe Makonese could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Article Source: The Chronicle