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Love for soft drinks sells out robbery gang





Suspected robbery gang leader Mussa Taj Abdul was identified in 2020 on CCTV at Trauma Centre Borrowdale by the hospital owner, Dr Vivek Solanki when he removed his face mask and looked straight into the camera.

Dr Solanki revealed this while he was testifying during the trial of the 11 suspects at the Harare Magistrates Court on Monday.

He said the gang members removed their face masks and started drinking soft drinks from the fridge, leading to the CCTV capturing their real faces.

Taj Abdul is jointly charged for robbery with Benjamin Chitunhu, Charles Lundu, Rudolph Tapiwa Kanhanga, Tapiwa Mangoma, Innocent Jairosi, Prince Makodza, Carrington Marasha, Douglas Mutenda, Sean Andile Dhlamini and Tawanda Handikanganwe Karase.

They denied the charges when the trial opened.

Armed robbery 'mastermind' Taj Abdul, 8 others convicted over illegal gun
Gang leader Mussa Taj Abdul

Said Dr Solanki: “On July 25, I heard that there was an armed robbery at the hospital. I rushed to the hospital and saw the robbers rushing into the car. I followed a Toyota Fortuner. I rammed into the Toyota Fortuner and I side-swiped it and then crashed into the ditch.

“They started running away and I have never known that people can run so fast. I then called the police and a security company to guard the car.”

Dr Solanki told the court that he noticed some items being thrown out from the car during the chase. He only realised later that the items were weapons.

Asked who he identified from the 11 suspects, Dr Solanki mentioned Taj Abdul and seven others.

He said the suspected robbers removed their masks while drinking soft drinks from his fridge.

“They are very pathetic to rob a hospital. They are also people who seek treatment from the same hospital,” he said.

The trial continues on August 18 when the State intends to play the CCTV footage that captured the suspects on the day of the robbery.

Mr Shepherd Makonde appeared for the State, while magistrate Mr Igantio Mhene presided.




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