By- A 27-year-old man who led a gang of seven others on a spree of armed robberies around Beitbridge district has been jailed for 50 years by a local regional court.
Conscious Gumbo of Mawale village under Chief Matibe was convicted on five counts of armed robbery when he appeared before Mr Innocent Bepura wednesday.
The accused and his accomplices used firearms, machetes, and knobkerries to subdue their victims mainly motorists.
His accomplices, Handson Tawanda Mhlanga (26), Philemon Chezani (24), and Brian Mudau (26) were each slapped with 12 years’ imprisonment, while one Thembani Ncube (20) was jailed for 20 years.
Two others, Life Shumba (30) and Nyashadzashe Shoko (20) were acquitted after a full trial.
A warrant of arrest was also issued against a 17-year-old juvenile who disappeared after securing bail.
All the accused persons are from the Beitbridge district.
Prosecuting Mr Cloudios Karinga said the gang along with two others still at large and acting in common purpose went on an armed robbery spree between 2020 and last year targeting motorists.
He said the gang pounced on the victims around Beitbridge town and the major highway leading to Masvingo.
The court heard that in one of the incidents, the accused persons attacked a motorist, Simon Zvarivadza on December 24, 2020, at the Joko area 60km along the Beitbridge to Masvingo road.
Armed with machetes, an unknown firearm and knobkerries, they took cash, USD300, two cellphones, and various groceries from a man they saw relieving himself by the roadside.
Mr Karinga said the men drove to Mawale where they shared the loot and later burnt the vehicle after discovering that it had a tracking device.
He said on February 1 last year, using the same method, Gumbo and crew attacked Musa Juwandu and stole US$600, a Huawei Y6 and Huawei Y7 cellphone both worth R5000 and went away.
The state said on February 14 2021 the gang robbed one Carlos Zvidza of a Toyota corolla, R750, and a cellphone in Beitbridge town. They had found the man in his vehicle with his girlfriend.
The prosecutor added that the accused continued with the reign of terror and attacked four more people using the same method and stole money, cellphones, and vehicles they would later dump.
They ran out of luck when Gumbo was arrested on July 3 for following thorough police investigations, and he later led the police to the rest of the gang members.