Zimbabwe: South African Soldier Arrested for Freeing 6 Criminals

A SOUTH AFRICAN soldier has been arrested for teaming up with other gunmen to ambush and shoot at police officers before freeing six Zimbabweans being taken to court in Makhado, Limpopo province on Monday morning.

Kedibone Albert Langa (38), who is a member of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and Thabani Sibanda (28), a Zimbabwean, were arrested in Musina on Tuesday night.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the two were arrested by a provincial tracking team.

He said the six prisoners, five from the same suspected gang of robbers, were being transported from Makhado Correctional Centre to Senwabarwana along Vivo road.

The attack occurred along Vivo Road next to the first Sxhoemansdal turn-off outside Louis Trichardt.

“The team followed up on information received about the suspects and arrested a 28-year-old Zimbabwean national who is believed to be the brother of one of the escapees and a member of the SANDF aged 38,” said Brig Mojapelo.

“The suspects were arrested in Musina and the two motor vehicles that they used in the commission of the crime, a grey Mercedes Benz and a white Toyota pickup truck, were also found during the arrest and confiscated.”

The escapees are Forward Shumba (26), Shingirai Nyandome (32), Brilliant Sibanda (26), Erick Sithole (35), and Moses Zambara (32), all arrested on robbery and attempted murder charges, and Alex Nkomo (35) who was arrested for theft. The six are all still at large.

Langa and Sibanda appeared at the Louis Trichardt Magistrates Court and were remanded in custody to March 22 pending further investigations.

“The charges are aiding and abetting, conspiracy to commit crime, possession of unlawful firearms and ammunition, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice, malicious damage to property and discharging of a firearm,” said Brig Mojapelo.

He said anyone with information should contact Colonel Nyelisani Mabatha on +2782 565 8171, the crime stop number +27860010111 or may send the message via MySAPSApp.

Limpopo police commander, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, commended her team for swiftly arresting the two men.

She also urged community members with information about the escapees and the remaining suspects to assist the police.

Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they were on high alert following the incident.

The six escaped as they were being transported by SAPS officers whose vehicle came under attack movie-style from a heavily armed gang in the Makhado area.

The suspects sped off in the now confiscated grey Mercedes Benz and a white Toyota truck.

This raised fears the escapees could have fled across the Limpopo into Zimbabwe through undesignated entry points to avoid being re-arrested in South Africa.

Asst Comm Nyathi said although Zimbabwean police had not formally been advised by their South African counterparts about the incident, they were on high alert and were keen to assist the South Africans and ensure the gang was rearrested and tried in South Africa.

Shumba, Nyandome, Sibanda, Sithole and Zambara are facing charges of aggravated robbery, three counts of attempted murder and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

Nkomo, also a Zimbabwean, had been arrested for theft of cables and also managed to escape.

Lt Gen Hadebe has since ordered the mobilisation of the necessary police resources, including the air wing, to hunt down the escapees.


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