Highway robbers terrorise haulage truckers

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

POLICE in Mashonaland West have raised concern over the rise in robberies targeting haulage truck drivers.

Confirming the upsurge of such cases, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) provincial spokesperson, Inspector Margaret Chitove, said the robbers, commonly known as “Makaramata” (Climbers) waylay slow-moving trucks as they go uphill, cut pressure hoses of the hydraulic systems, which force vehicles to stop, before they pounce.

She said reported incidents had escalated, particularly in the mountainous Chikuti area.

In a recent incident which occurred on June 15, 2022, at the 168 kilometre-peg along the Harare-Chirundu highway, a truck driver, Guardian Sobafana, was driving alone enroute to Chirundu.

Upon reaching the said spot, unidentified robbers threw stones at the vehicle, while others climbed onto it and cut pressure pipes, forcing the truck to stop.

The assailants sprayed the driver’s eyes with an irritant before stealing a cellphone, radio, an assortment of clothes and blankets, all valued at US$797.

They assaulted Sabafana using sticks and boots, resulting in him sustaining facial injuries.

Police urged drivers to avoid travelling at night in a bid to curb such incidents.

“We urge truckers to desist from driving at night as this exposes them to highway robbers. Instead, they must park at designated truck stops and continue journeys during the day when it is less likely they would be targeted by robbers,” said Chitove.