NOTORIOUS armed robber Musa Taj Abdul – who has been on police top wanted list for the past 20 years – was arrested in Beitbridge along with six other suspects Sunday night following a tip-off to police.
Taj Abdul is accused by police of masterminding numerous criminal activities, including high profile robbery cases reminiscent of the Chidhumo-Masendeke robberies which kept the nation spellbound in the 1990s.
The arrests were confirmed by police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms the arrest of Musa Tak Abdul (46), Liberty Mupamhanga (29), Prince Makodza (31), Godfrey Mupamhanga (27), Charles Lundu, Rudolf Kanhanga (29), Innocent Jairos (32), Tapiwa Mangoma (27) who were on police wanted list for high profile armed robbery cases,” he said.
An internal police memorandum issued Monday also confirmed the arrests.
“On 24 August 2020 information was received to the effect that armed robbers who are wanted at CID Homicide, Harare for outstanding armed robbery cases around Zimbabwe were spotted at Mashavire Shopping Centre Beitbridge,” the memorandum reads.
According to the memo, police officers initially failed to locate the gang at the business centre, only managing to do so following a sustained manhunt.
“Acting upon the information a team of detectives, support unit and canine details teamed up and made follow-ups on the information. While on follow-ups, further information was obtained to the effect that the accused persons were using a silver BMW motor vehicle registration number AEW 0428. The team went to Mashavire business centre to check for the accused persons but they had left.
“The team of police officers moved around Beitbridge looking for the accused persons’ motor vehicle. The team spotted the accused’s motor vehicle parked at Mashakada Business Centre outside Croc butchery with nobody in the vehicle. The team waited at a distance observing the vehicle.
After about half an hour a male adult with dreadlocks whom we later knew as Carlington Marasha (also on the police wanted persons list) approached the parked motor vehicle, entered into it.
“He drove it towards Mashavire Area Beitbridge. The team of police officers drove following the motor vehicle until it parked at house number 1184 Dulibadzimu, Beitbridge. The driver then went into the house where police officers followed and pounced on the accused persons,” the memo further reads.
“Upon approaching the house, the accused persons ran in different directions scaling over the durawall and ran away in different directions prompting police officers to fire warning shots and cast police dogs to pursue the accused persons.
“The team of police officers managed to arrest the accused persons. Searches were made and police officers recovered a Noringo Pistol silver in colour with an obliterated serial number and a magazine of 11 live rounds, 19×12 bore gauge live rounds on a webbing belt (bandoleer) placed in a black satchel stashed in a washing basket. A pair of number plates AEX 1577 was recovered under the bed. The motor vehicle was also searched and the team of police officers recovered a black face mask (balaclava) stashed in the vehicle boot.”
The gang, police said, included a former police officer who had been dismissed from work in 2016 and a serving member of the ZRP.
“Further interviews revealed that accused 6 (Rudolf Kanhanga) is a former police officer who was stationed at Masvingo Central Police Protection Unit and was dismissed from the organisation in 2016,” the memo reads.
“The accused persons were interviewed revealed that accused number 8 (Tapiwa Mangoma) is a serving member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police stationed at ZRP Beitbridge Urban Police Station, Force number 086494P.
“He is the one who had organised the team so that they would rob their intended target at house number 2008 Dulibadzimu Beitbridge. Accused 8 made indications to the police officers at the mentioned targeted house,” reads the memo, according to which a total of five cases of armed robbery are being levelled against them along with other cases.
“Accused 1 to 8 are wanted in connection with the following cases; Mashwede armed robbery, Makoni Shopping Centre armed robbery, Blue Circle armed robbery, Glen Norah B safe armed robbery, Marlborough shoot out, murder and many other armed robbery cases around Zimbabwe,” the memo says.