By Mary Taruvinga
NOTORIOUS armed robber, Musa Taj Abdul – who has been on the police wanted list for over 20 years – including other eight suspected dangerous criminals – appeared at the Harare Magistrate’s Court Friday facing nine counts of robbery.
The accused persons appeared before Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti who remanded them in custody to September 10.
She advised them to apply for bail at the High Court.
Taj Abdul (47) and his gang appeared in court in leg irons, and under heavy police escort. They were arrested in Beitbridge Monday.
Most of the accused members had wounds after they were attacked by police dogs as they attempted to evade arrest. The state told the court some of the co-accused persons are still at large.
The accused’s lawyer, Ashley Mugiya pleaded with the magistrate to give an order for the accused person to seek treatment as they raised complaints of being tortured by the Beitbridge police and the CID Law and Order officers. They claimed the police fed them to dogs.
Taj’s accomplices are; Charles Lundu (47) Rudolph Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi (29), Tapiwa Mangoma (27), Benjamin Chitunhu, Innocent Jairos (32), Godfrey Mupamhanga (29), Prince Makodza (31), Liberty Mupamhanga (29).
The gang is suspected to have committed most of its robberies in the capital. One of the many complainants is Vivek Solanki, the owner of the Trauma Centre in Borrowdale, Harare where the gang stole over U$3 000 at the medical facility.
Other allegations are that on July 24 this year, the accused persons who were in the company of other accomplices still at large, hatched a plan to rob Lyle Leonard Wilsons and proceeded to 4 Longford Street in Queensdale Harare, driving in separate vehicles.
On arrival, they removed some precast wall panels to gain entry.
“Whilst inside the premises, the accused who were putting on face masks and armed with a shotgun and a pistol forced open the lounge door with an iron bar and gained entry,” reads court papers.
“They confronted the complainant Lyle Leonard Wilson’s brother-in-law who was seated in the lounge. He shouted for help and fled towards the kitchen intending to escape through the back door where he bumped into one of the accused persons who was standing outside the house.
“They manhandled him tied his hands from behind with shoelaces. The accused persons went on to confront the complainant who had locked himself in the bedroom from inside together with his wife and children.
The court record continues; “They forced open the door with an iron bar and confronted the complainant and his wife before ordering them to lie down on the floor while covering the complainant’s wife with a blanket.”
Wilson was assaulted as the robbers demanded cash and valuables from him while they were also ransacking the bedroom.
“They stole cash amounting to US$1 473 from the complainant’s wife handbag and five cellphones, handbags, eyeglasses, power banks, face masks and valuables.
“On the other charge, the accused persons also robbed other companies, stealing valuable goods while holding arms. The amount value of goods stolen is US$7 516 and $3 565 on both counts respectively.”