Radio Zimbabwe DJ on the run after Mutare gun robbery, kidnapping

Radio DJ Edias Mafyt Sibanda
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MUTARE – A Radio Zimbabwe deejay has been named as a suspect in an investigation into an armed robbery and kidnapping incident in Mutare on Sunday.

Edias Sibanda is alleged to be part of a gang of five men who shot and deflated the front tyres of a vehicle before abducting its three occupants – apparently in a bid to recover money lost when they bought fake diamonds.

This emerged as Vongai Matonga, 32, of Gwabalanda in Bulawayo and Tafadzwa Utete, 37, of Glenview in Harare appeared at the Mutare Magistrates Court on Monday charged with armed robbery and kidnapping.

Police are still looking for the 33-year-old Sibanda, whose last known residence is a property in Kuwadzana Extension in Harare. Two other suspects, Tatenda William and Brian Muzozo are also being sought.

The National Prosecuting Authority alleges that Romeo Charles Tembo of Chikanga in Mutare, Morgan Zengeni of Gimboki South in Mutare and Luckmore Chikove, also of Chikanga, were driving in a silver Toyota Fortuner from Chikanga into central Mutare at around 9AM on Sunday when Matonga rang up Zengeni and asked for a meeting.

“Matonga and Zengeni wanted to resolve a previous diamond deal where Zengeni was being accused by Matonga of having sold fake diamonds to him in 2020,” according to the prosecution.

The men, the court heard, agreed to meet at a Zuva Petroleum service station on Mutare-Harare Road. On pulling up at the location, a Toyota Sienta allegedly aggressively blocked the Fortuner and five men, including Sibanda, charged out armed with a gun.

The suspect holding the gun allegedly fired two shots in the air and then aimed at the front tyres of the Fortuner.

The suspects allegedly dragged Chikove, Tembo and Zengeni from their vehicle and bundled them in the Toyota Sienta. They were assaulted while demands for cash were made. The men accused Zengeni of selling Matonga fake diamonds. William, the court heard, was the owner of the money.

Chikove, Tembo and Zengeni were searched and the suspects took US$120 from Tembo and also seized his mobile phone. As the interrogation and beatings continued, Chikove escaped leaving Tembo and Zengeni who were handcuffed and driven to Harare.

Once in Harare, the five suspects allegedly forced Zengeni to call his friends and ask for money. At around 3PM on the same day, police detectives, acting on a report filed by Chikove, learned about the ransom demand and a trap was set.

The suspects were lured to the Kuwadzana Roundabout on the Harare-Bulawayo highway where they were expecting to receive ransom money. Matonga and Utete were arrested but Sibanda, Muzozo and William fled from the scene.

Police also freed Tembo and Zengeni who were still in handcuffs.