Soldier faces 8 armed robbery charges

THREE more armed robbery suspects, including a soldier, who are part of a gang that was arrested after shootouts over the weekend, appeared in court yesterday.

Zvidozvashe Dzuda, who is employed by the Zimbabwe National Army, was not asked to plead to eight counts of armed robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and was ordered to apply for bail at the High Court.

Meanwhile, Ephraim Alphas and Bruce Muparadzi, also appeared before the court facing three counts of armed robbery and will be back in the dock on July 13, while the magistrate also directed them to apply for bail at the High Court.

This comes as on Monday other suspects, Godfrey Josi and Valentine Mutasa, also appeared in court on charges of armed robbery, unlawful possession of firearm and explosives, while their alleged accomplice Peter Mushipe was remanded on his hospital bed after sustaining injuries during a shootout.

Two of their alleged accomplices Richard Mutanga and Benjamin Musasa died from injuries sustained during the shootouts.

Alphas and Muparadzi are alleged to have participated in three robberies, including the raid on Gateway High School where they stole US$250 000 after blowing up a safe, the US$20 000 robbery at Seedex Company in Ruwa as well as the US$20 000 heist at the University of Zimbabwe farm.

Dzuda is facing similar allegations with Josi who was slapped with eight counts of armed robbery.

The gang is also alleged to be behind an attack at a Waterfalls home last year.

Despite warning shots from neighbours, the gang allegedly went in and held the people hostage, attacking the owner of the house before robbing her of US$51 000 and other valuables.

They are also linked to the Seedex robbery after force-marching the occupant and his family.