By- Armed robbers attacked two Bulawayo Roman Catholic Church premises Thursday night, held priests hostage and stole over US$1,300 in cash and property.
The suspects used machetes to attack the Roman Catholic Holy Trinity Parish, where they took US$1,200 and South African rands. They also targeted the House of Liberty Christian Church and stole valuable property.
The priests were handcuffed during the attack, but they were not severely injured. Narrating the ordeal, Gilbert Moyo, the resident Priest at Holy Trinity Parish, said the suspects forced their way into their residence and handcuffed them.
Four armed robbers attacked us at around 2am this morning. They used the back door to enter.
They handcuffed me and a student priest who is also resident here.
They stole an Isuzu vehicle, Samsung cell phone, a cash box containing US$1,200 and R2,500, a wallet with my (driver’s) licence and cash amounting to US$120.
As soon as they left, we went to the police to report.
They were carrying machetes and axes, among other metal weapons. Fortunately, we sustained minor injuries.
Acting Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele confirmed the incidents and explained that the robbers were armed with a machete, iron bar, and a kitchen knife. Msebele also advised churches to protect their premises and avoid keeping large sums of money within their properties. Msebele said during the attack, a female resident at House of Liberty Christian Church was accosted by three armed robbers in the church’s residence at around 1:30 am. She said:
They assaulted her with a fist on the face, threatening to kill her and went on to demand cash from her.
The accused persons force-marched the complainant into her bedroom and ransacked the house.
This attack is the latest in a series of similar robberies on Roman Catholic churches and schools in Bulawayo, with 20 incidents recorded in the last 12 months.