BULAWAYO – Police on Wednesday made a breakthrough in their investigation into Tuesday’s gun attack on a security convoy from How Mine during which 11.9kg of gold worth US$650,000 was taken.
Three men suspected to be part of a 13-man armed gang were arrested after a Nissan NP300 vehicle with South African registration, which was abandoned at the crime scene, provided vital clues.
Antony Moyo, 39, Wilson Mutandwa, 24, and Ernest Mutandwa, 30, are due before a court in Bulawayo on Thursday facing armed robbery charges.
In a statement, national police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigations were still in progress to account for other members of the gang. Police believe the robbers had “inside information”.
“There was an element of inside information because the gold had just left the mine in a three-car convoy, and the robbers who ambushed the convoy at such an opportune time also had three vehicles to successfully block the convoy,” Nyathi said.
“We’re still investigating whether the gold heist was an inside job or not and will keep the public updated on any new developments. Armed robbery syndicates, including company employees and associates leaking information to criminals are warned that their days are numbered.”
A Securico cash-in-transit van accompanied by two other security vehicles from the mine was blocked in Douglasdale, about 20km south of Bulawayo, by three vehicles – a Toyota GD6, a Nissan March and a Nissan NP300.
Men armed with assault rifles and handguns overwhelmed the convoy and disarmed guards of four guns before seizing the gold.
A fourth vehicle driven by How Mine’s security manager, who was minutes behind, reportedly arrived at the scene and engaged the robbers who abandoned the Nissan NP300. The Nissan March was also found abandoned hours later.
Nyathi said police received information that some of the stolen items including a rifle, a black glove and three empty metal boxes had been abandoned at a house under construction on Folly Road in Bulawayo’s West Summerton suburb.
The Nissan NP300 became the biggest piece of evidence for police whose investigations revealed that it was owned by Nkosilathi Ximba, also known by the alias Tonderai Vumbunu. Police also established that the vehicle was sometimes driven by Moyo who, when he was arrested, implicated the Mutandwa brothers.
Police said Ernest Mutandwa was arrested in Beitbridge while attempting to leave the country for South Africa.
Police have made an appeal for information which may lead to the arrest of the outstanding suspects.
Nyathi said: “Anyone with information should contact national complaints desk on +263(242)703631; WhatsApp +263712800197 or Bulawayo operations on +263(242)748836 or report at any nearest police station.”