POLICE have launched a manhunt for a group of six armed robbers that shot and injured a police officer in the buttock and robbed him together with 59 other passengers aboard a Smart Express bus.
The incident occurred 20km before Beitbridge town around 3am on Saturday.
The injured cop, Sergeant Desire Hombarume, is admitted at Beitbridge District Hospital where he is reported to be in a stable condition.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident, saying the bus was travelling from Mutare to Beitbridge. He said the six suspected armed robbers and the injured police officer had all boarded the bus in Masvingo.
“We are investigating a case where 60 people including a police officer on board a Smart Express bus were robbed at gunpoint of their valuables by six yet to be known men.
“Preliminary investigations reveal that the suspects boarded the bus in Masvingo along with the police officer.
“When the bus was getting closer to Lutumba Business Centre, the driver inquired if anyone was disembarking at the point. He did not get any response, and suddenly four men stood up from the back and walked towards the door, where the police officer was seated.”
One of the suspects who had heard the policeman identifying himself to the bus crew in Masvingo shot him in the left buttock once. The suspects then fired more warning shot and ordered everyone to lie down, forcing the driver to stop the bus.
They took US$108 from the injured police officer. During the fracas, some passengers managed to escape through the windows.
The total amount of stolen property is yet to be established.
The matter was then reported to the police who rushed their colleague to the hospital for medical attention. The injured officer is in a stable condition and still under treatment and observation.
Nyathi said the police were worried about the recurrence of hijackings and armed robberies along the Masvingo to Beitbridge and Bulawayo to Beitbridge routes. He advised public transporters to observe the 10pm to 6am curfew regulations. ■