A South African national was one of two suspected criminals killed in a shootout with detectives from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in Arcadia, Harare.
State media in Zimbabwe, The Herald newspaper, reported that two suspected robbers “operating from South Africa” arrived in the neighbouring country this week with the aim of committing crime, including kidnappings.
In a statement seen by The Zimbabwe Mail, ZRP national spokesperson, assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi, said Jabulani Ngobeni, 45, and Godknows Machingura, 44, died in a shootout with detectives in Harare.
Ngobeni, a South African national, was a resident of Tzaneen, in Limpopo.
Online publication ZimLive.com reported that Andrew Masubelele hails from Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria; Ndiafhi Makhado is from Thsakhuma in Limpopo; Emmanuel Makamo is based in Alberton, Johannesburg; and Paul Zhou, a Zimbabwean man based in Waterfalls, Harare, were arrested.
The gang reportedly had a plan to rob a Chinese businessman based in Zimbabwe by ambushing his vehicle as he drove to Harare.
The ZRP said Masubelele, 38; Makhado, 39; Makamo, 22, and Zhou, 55, were arrested for conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
“Ndiafhi Makhado, Jabulani Ngobeni, Andrew Masubelele, and Emmanuel Makhamo had travelled from South Africa with the intention of committing armed robberies,” said Nyathi.
“On December 19,2023, detectives from CID Homicide Harare received information that the suspects were booked at a guest house along Mauritius Road, Arcadia, Harare. The detectives raided the guest house, resulting in the suspects bolting out of the house.
“Jabulani Ngobeni fired shots towards the detectives, and a shootout ensued, resulting in Jabulani Ngobeni being shot on the hip. Subsequently, Jabulani Ngobeni, Ndiafhi Makhado, Andrew Masubele, Paul Zhou, and Emmanuel Makamo were arrested.”
During the arrest, the police recovered a 9mm Star pistol loaded with four rounds of ammunition.
Makhado, Ngobeni, Masubele, and Makamo were injured during the shootout and were referred to the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare for treatment. Ngobeni died upon admission at the state-run health facility.
The ZRP said Paul Zhou confessed that he had booked the accommodation and hired two vehicles – a Toyota Fortuner and a Honda Fit – after receiving $400 (about R7,300) from Machingura.
“The suspects revealed to the detectives that they had hatched a plan to commit robbery along Birmingham Road in Kwekwe. Machingura was said to be in Shamva, where he was monitoring the movement of their target,” Nyathi narrated.
“Subsequently, Machingura was lured to Morgan High School in Arcadia, Harare, where he was arrested after being shot in the groin following a speed chase and a shootout with the detectives.”
Machingura was reportedly keeping tabs on a Chinese national who the group had conspired to rob.
During Machingura’s arrest, police recovered a 9mm Taurus pistol with a magazine loaded with nine bullets.
Machingura also died upon arrival at the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police reiterates that any form of confrontation or armed clash with police reaction teams will be met with appropriate response,” said Nyathi.
“The police are concerned with the involvement of foreign nationals in conspiring to commit armed robbery cases in the country. Police detectives have also gathered information to the effect that the arrested criminals wanted to kidnap some prominent people in the country for ransom.”
Last month, IOL reported that the regional court in Mokopane, in Limpopo convicted and sentenced a 35-year-old South African man who was arrested during an attempt to smuggle a stolen Toyota Fortuner to Zimbabwe.
At the time, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, provincial police spokesperson in Limpopo, said Shane Mthombeni was sentenced to six years of direct imprisonment without the option to pay a fine.