Musa Taj Abdul alias Salim Rahman, Musa Mahommed or Kedha was one of the country’s most wanted armed robbers for the past 20 years.
Today, he has finally been convicted together with his accomplices for illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition.
Musa Taj Abdul is also accused of masterminding a string of robberies that spun over a period of two decades.
He was arrested together with his accomplices on August 24, 2020 in Beitbridge after being trailed by law enforcement agents.
Abdul (47) and other gang members — Charles Lundu (47), Rudolf Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi (29), Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa (27), Innocent Jairosi (32), Prince Makodza (31), Liberty Mupamhanga (29), Godfrey Mupamhanga (27) and Carrington Marasha — have today been convicted of illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition.
In April, the investigating officer Detective Sergeant Ronald Musekiwa told the court that the arms and ammunition recovered in the possession of these notorious armed robbers were used to commit various crimes around the country.
Detective Sgt Musekiwa told the court that the firearms and ammunition found in their possession were taken to CID Ballistics for testing and they matched some scenes in the laboratory, meaning they were used to commit various crimes.
Abdul was once convicted in 1995 for tampering with a motor vehicle but appealed against the conviction and was released on bail before he disappeared ‘forever’, just like some of his accomplices who have never served any jail terms.
They would continuously approach the court for bail pending appeal and finally disappeared.
Other suspected armed known for using such tricks are the Mupamhanga siblings—Liberty, Godfrey and Musafare Mupamhanga who is also in remand prison for a spate of armed robberies.
Investigations by The Sunday Mail last year established that the address that Abdul once provided as 23 Down Street Barham Green in Bulawayo was non-existent.
Preliminary investigations by the same publication indicated that Abdul could have grown up living in Arcadia, Harare before he left for an unknown address. Another known address for Abdul is House Number 12 Adams Avenue, St Martins in Harare.
Warrants of arrest for Abdul date back to 1999, with further warrants in 2005 and 2006. His accomplices on the other hand had warrants outstanding from 2018 and 2019.
Abdul and his gang were being harboured by a police officer Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa who was also arrested during the raid last year.
Abdul, Mupamhanga, Makodza, Lundu and Munatsi incurred some injuries from dog bites during a tussle with the police. They were taken to Beitbridge District Hospital for treatment.
Police recovered a silver Noringo pistol with an obliterated serial number and a magazine with 11 live rounds, 19×12 bore gauge live rounds in a webbing belt placed in a black satchel stashed in a washing basket, and a pair of number plates AEX 1577. They also recovered a black face mask (balaclava) was found stashed in their getaway car.
Investigations by the Zimbabwe Republic Police established that Charles Lundu and Prince Makodza had fake identification cards bearing the names Enock Rimuwa and Paddington Matira respectively. It was not clear how the two suspects acquired those IDs.
When police raided Abdul’s gang in Beitbridge, four members escaped. Those who escaped were Abednigo Dhlamini and Elias Mpofu, alias Jabulani or Obasanjo, who are believed to have crossed into South Africa as well as Brian Murape and Carlington Marasha who were by then suspected to be still in Zimbabwe.
Abdul and his gang are linked to nine cases of armed robbery.
One of the cases occurred on December 20, 2019 at Wessel Shop in Msasa, Harare, where Abdul and his gang disarmed a security guard and stole a special Amadeo Rossi revolver, US$160 000 and an Isuzu KB240 single cab vehicle.
On February 5, 2020, the gang allegedly went to Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza, armed with pistols, an AK47 rifle and robbed unsuspecting business owners of US$19 000, $30 000, cellphones and a Toyota Allion vehicle, which was later found abandoned in Glen View in Harare.
Abdul and some of his gang members were also believed to be linked to the famous Mashwede case, Blue Circle, Glen Norah B safe, Trauma Centre robbery, and the Marlborough shoot-out murder.
On December 14, 2020, Abdul and his three accomplices Godfrey Mupamhanga, Rudolf Tapiwa Kanhanga and Douglas Mutenda were granted bail by High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero.
Adbul and Mupamhanga were granted $5 000 bail each while Kanhanga was released on $2 000 bail. As part of their bail conditions, the trio were ordered to reside at their given address and report to the police every Friday between 6 am and 6 pm until the matter had been finalised.
Abdul was ordered to reside at Number 12 Adams Avenue, St Martins Harare until this matter was finalised, to report at Sunningdale 2 Police Station every Friday between 6am and 6pm and not to interfere with witnesses.
Before they could post bail money, police brought up fresh charges against Abdul and his four accomplices and requested that they remain in custody pending their remand hearing on the new charges and further investigations.
In May, Abdul’s bail application was again dismissed by the High Court.
Abdul’s application came after his two other accomplices, Liberty Mupamhanga and Rudolf Kanhanga, also approached the High Court seeking bail. Both their applications were dismissed and they remained in custody.
Two of Abdul’s suspected accomplices who by then were out on bail, Spicer Takawira and Musafare Mupamhanga, were also issued with warrants of arrest after failing to turn up in court on April 28.
During the past few years, Abdul was once arrested in South Africa but was believed to have been released with the help of his police connections. He is also believed to be wanted for questioning in Botswana over a number of robberies. – Herald