Eight armed robbers stormed the Bulawayo High Court in Zimbabwe early Sunday and gained entry into the court’s criminal registry after attacking and disarming police officers manning the premises.
The incident occurred at about 4 a.m. and the suspects were reportedly armed with pistols.
The incident was confirmed by police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi who indicated that the attack occurred around 4 AM. Nyathi said:
We are investigating an armed robbery case which occurred at the Bulawayo High Court yesterday morning at 4AM. It is said about eight suspects went to the court and attacked two officers who were on duty and these suspects were armed with pistols.
After attacking them, they blindfolded one of the officers. They then tried to force open the court’s main safe to the criminal registry’s office using a key. After failing, they tried again to use a grinder and, in the process, it is alleged that they were making phone calls.
He said after failing in their attempts, they tied the hands and legs of one of the police officers.
The officer who sustained some serious injuries was taken to a hospital in Bulawayo where he is receiving treatment.
“They attacked him using their weapons. He is being treated at a hospital in Bulawayo, but we cannot reveal where he is receiving treatment,” Nyathi said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police suspect the robbers had inside information adding that investigations were underway to establish the motive behind the robbery and the attack on the officers.
“We are therefore leaving no stone unturned in our quest to get to the bottom of this case and apprehend the suspects. The law will definitely take its course.”
An anonymous legal expert told ZBC News that a crime registry can store exhibits which include weapons used by criminals in committing crimes adding the exhibits are very vital in the prosecution process and probably these robbers wanted to steal these exhibits or destroy important documents.
Judicial Service Commission spokesperson Rumbidzai Takawira said the commission has deployed a team from Harare to assess the situation.
“We have a team that is going there to ascertain what really transpired and we can only have information tomorrow (Monday),” said Takawira.
A legal expert who declined to be named said an exhibit safe room can contain files or prosecution documents for suspects appearing before the courts.
“A crime registry can store exhibits which include weapons used by criminals in committing crimes. The exhibits are very vital in the prosecution process and probably these robbers wanted to steal these exhibits or destroy important documents,” said the expert.