Two armed robbery suspects shot dead by police

Suspects Never Moyo and Bhekimpilo Sibanda suddenly turned violent during indications – police say

Two armed robbery suspects accused of disarming prison guards at Khami Prison near Bulawayo on March 21 and stealing an AK47 rifle have been shot dead in police custody.

Never Moyo, 48, of Nkulumane 11 and Bhekimpilo Sibanda, 43, of Kezi “suddenly became violent in a bid to disarm one of the police officers of his AK47” and were subsequently shot dead on April 26, police said.

The men had been booked out of Bulawayo Central Police Station for “indications” near Khami Dam where they had hidden two guns.

A third suspect, Jerry Arnold Gumbo, 48, of Maphisa, is in police custody.

The killing of the two men in police custody is the latest in a string of similar incidents which have led to accusations that police are summarily executing suspects. In all the incidents, police said they were protecting themselves and deny unlawful killings.

Police say at around 2AM on March 21, Moyo and Sibanda who were armed with a pistol and an electric shock stun gun crept up on prison guards at Khami Prison and robbed them of an AK47.

The men then allegedly went on a spree robbing shops and stealing motor vehicles.

On March 23, Moyo and Sibanda allegedly struck at the Meat Company in Njube suburb and grabbed US$1,800 and R1,400 from the cash till.

On April 2, they boarded a Pumula-bound Honda Fit in Nkulumane before pulling out a gun and allegedly robbing Udin Nyoni of the vehicle and US$60 in cash.

On the same day, staff at FMG Wholesale in central Bulawayo were allegedly accosted by Moyo and Sibanda who were armed with an AK47 and a pistol. The two men forced staff to open the cash till and emptied it of US$780.

A day later, on April 3, teacher Yedwa Ncube of Old Lobengula arrived home just after 8PM and parked in front of his house before going to open the gate. Moyo and Sibanda appeared from the darkness and produced guns before robbing him of his vehicle and two phones.

Three illegal foreign currency dealers at Nkulumane Complex – Siphilile Mabhena, Vusile Moyo and Mlungisi Sigauke – would be the next victims. On April 4, Sibanda and Moyo allegedly approached them while armed with an AK47 and a pistol and demanded cash. The trio was robbed of R1,000, US$1,800 and US$1,400 respectively.

On April 18, Mlungisi Sigauke of Old Lobengula had just parked outside his house at 7PM when Moyo and Sibanda suddenly emerged and forced him to hand over his car keys for his unidentified vehicle at gun point. The duo drove off at high speed.

Two days later, on April 20, Moyo and Sibanda allegedly stormed the Maphisa Post Office and ordered Enest Dube to open the safe at gun point. They grabbed US$2,240 from the safe.

Police raided Moyo’s Nkulumane 11 residence on April 26 after a tip-off that he had a gun. After he was detained, police recovered an AK47 rifle with eight rounds and a black pistol pellet gun. Also recovered were two hand-held Bao-Feng communication radios.

Moyo, according to police, implicated Sibanda in all the robberies and the third suspect Gumbo in the Maphisa Post Office robbery only.

Sibanda and Gumbo were arrested at their rural homes without incident.

On April 26, Moyo and Sibanda led police to Khami Dam where they said they had hidden two guns. Police recovered an FN Browning pistol and a Taurus revolver.

“The accused persons suddenly became violent in a bid to disarm one of the police officers of his AK47 rifle. They were subsequently shot by alert police details and sustained gunshot wounds to their backs. They were rushed to the United Bulawayo Hospitals where they died on admission,” a police report of the incident seen by ZimLive said.

Moyo and Sibanda were both ex-convicts released from Khami Prison in 2022 and February 2024 respectively.

There have been demands for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to expedite the selection of commissioners to sit on the Independent Complaints Commission whose job is to investigate rights abuses by members of the security services.

Parliament has shortlisted 35 candidates to sit on the panel. Interviews were conducted on April 4 and names of the final nominees will be sent to Mnangagwa for appointment.

Prisoner rights activists say dozens of suspects have been killed in police custody after being taken for “indications” at crime scenes.

After Blessing Sumbani Sithole, a suspect in the February 25 robbery at Quest Financial Services in Harare was shot dead in police custody, national police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi maintained that “police fully subscribe to human rights tenets.”

“Suspects involved in criminal acts are implored to duly comply with police orders and avoid clashes or confrontation with arresting details,” he said. ZimLive

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