FIVE suspected armed robbers who fatally shot Elvis Chijaka and seriously injured businessman Brian Chijaka and his partner Brenda Chimukonyo in Hatfield, Harare on Christmas Eve before getting away with cash and valuables have appeared in court.
Lameck Kabara 39, Perserverence Chihota 32, Tongesai Katoma 40, Joseph John 32 and Tafadzwa Charuma were facing armed robbery, attempted murder, murder and unlawful possession of firearms when they appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Yeukai Chigodora.
Their lawyers made complaints against police whom they accused of assaulting them upon arrest.
They were remanded in custody and advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
The court heard that on December 23, the five accused persons hatched a plan to rob the complainants Brenda Chimukonyo and Brian Chijaka whom they knew own several clothing shops in Harare.
It is alleged that John, who was deployed in Glen Lorne to perform VIP guard duties supplied his Air Force of Zimbabwe service rifle to be used by his accomplice and fellow soldier Kabara in the commission of the offence.
Pursuant to their plan, on Christmas Eve the accused persons arranged to monitor the complainants’ movements and closing of the shops as they planned to rob them on their way home.
It is alleged that Katoma remained guard at the complainants’ shop waiting for their vehicle to alert Kabara and Charuma who were waylaying them near their house.
Chihota drove the getaway car and dropped Kabara and Charuma near the complainants’ house near Kilwinning Road in Hatfield, Harare.
Chihota then drove the car and parked it at the intersection of Kilwinning Road and Alexander Drive where he was to monitor the complainants’ car which they knew would pass by. He would then alert Kabara and Charuma who, in turn, would pounce on the couple as they arrived at their gate.
At around 9pm, the complainants closed their shop and got into their car and drove towards home. Katoma, who was monitoring the couple, alerted Kabara. When the complainants turned from Kilwinning Road into Alexander Drive, Kabara and Chihota came from the opposite direction walking towards them.
When they got nearer to the complainants’ vehicle who had slowed down for the gate to open, Kabara took a rifle from a sack he was holding and fired towards the vehicle, hitting the driver’s door.
Brendon Mukonyo who was driving accelerated, hit the sliding gate and stopped just before the wall while screaming for help.
Mukonyo allegedly rushed into the house and the accused persons fired several shots outside and within the yard. Brian Chijaka disembarked from the vehicle and wrestled with the accused person who hit him several times.
Chihota then took control of the complainants’ vehicle and drove outside the yard.
Elvis Chijaka, who was inside the house, came outside to rescue but was fatally shot a few metres from the gate.
The accused persons took advantage of the complainant who was bleeding and powerless. They then drove off and dumped the vehicle after taking the complainant’s money which they shared amongst themselves.
After the incident, Kabara went to give back the rifle to Charuma.
Brian, who sustained serious injuries, was rushed to hospital.
A report was made leading to the accused persons’ arrest.