BULAWAYO – Police on Wednesday released names of 11 people they say are wanted over the October 4 gun robbery of a cash-in-transit van carrying gold from How Mine to Fidelity Printers in Bulawayo.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said a reward of US$5,000 was being offered to “anyone who supplies information that leads to the arrest of the suspects.”
Three suspects – Antony Moyo, 39, Wilson Mutandwa, 24, and Ernest Mutandwa, 30 – have appeared in court facing armed robbery charges over the heist, but police say the crime was a conspiracy between at least 14 people.
Nyathi said among those sought were brothers Elijah Temai Vumbunu, Abraham Vumbunu and Tonderai Vumbunu, also known as Nkosilathi Ximba. Others were named as Israel Zulu, David Sanyatwe, Jimmy Gonyane, Vincent Ishmael and Abbysinia Shuma, also known as Dulini.
Police also have three suspect names without surnames – Mike, Kelvin and Chabikwa.
In the robbery at around 7.30AM, 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 11.6kg of gold worth nearly US$500,000.
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.
Some of the stolen items including a rifle, a black glove and three empty metal boxes were recovered 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, where investigators fear most of their suspects are now hiding.