May 25, 2019

ZimDancehall singer implicated in armed robberies

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A rising dancehall musician Njanji Simbi Hombe (real name Noah Wambe), who last month released a single on traffic safety titled ‘‘KuDriver Zvakachenjera”, has been linked to an armed gang of robbers that target money changers in the city of Bulawayo.

This came out after one of the suspects was nabbed and implicated Wambe (30) as one of the gang members. The group of armed robbers have been targeting foreign currency dealers in the city, with reports they are armed with guns, machetes and iron bars.

They follow forex dealers to their homes and rob them of household property that includes television sets, cellphones and cash.

One of the gang members was arrested last Tuesday at fast food outlet in the city.

The suspect implicated Njanji and police have allegedly recovered some of the stolen property from the dancehall chanter while some people who were arrested with some of the goods claimed that they bought them from him.

The heavily built Njanji yesterday denied masterminding the gang.“I don’t know what you are talking about, I don’t know anything,” he said.

Diners at Chicken Inn drive-through in Famona suburb narrated a hair-raising scene when six heavily armed detectives arrested Adonai Mashonga (32) at around 4PM on Tuesday. “He’s a regular at the joint. He always tells people he is a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative. We were shocked when he was suddenly surrounded and whisked away by armed police,” said a source who asked not to be named.

Mashonga, a police source said, fingered Njanji and named six other accomplices who are still at large.

Mashonga was found with housebreaking implements and has since made indications at six houses in Pumula, Nketa, Cowdray Park and Emganwini suburbs where he said his gang robbed people.

Two Bulawayo residents who were arrested while using cellphones that had been stolen from one of the osiphatheleni, told police they bought them from Njanji. 

The musician indicated that he bought the cellphones from Mashonga who was in the company of Zibusiso alias Zikhewu.

 Mashonga’s gang is suspected to have raided Mr George Dennise’s home in Pumula East around 8PM on 24 November and ordered everyone to lie on the ground at gun point and demanded cash which was in the house.

Mr Dennise led them to his bedroom where he gave them R4 000, $470 Bond notes and USD $55.

“The robbers ransacked the house and took away four cellphones,” said a source close to the incident.

About five hours later, the gang went to Mr Ishmael Chikarakara’s home in Nketa 9, armed with a pistol, two machetes, an axe and iron bars.

“They forced open the door and ordered Mr Chikarakara to lie down but he resisted. He grappled with one of the robbers and a gang member struck him with a machete on the forehead leaving a deep gash. Following further strikes with the machete on his left hand and right thigh, he relented and lay down facing downwards,” said a source. 

The armed robbers took US$200, R2 000, a 52 inch LG plasma TV set, an HP Laptop, a Samsung double sim cellphone, a Samsung Tablet, a Samsung Galaxy series cellphone, Huawei cellphone, soft drink cans, five dressed chickens and two sets of car keys for a Mercedes Benz and a Nissan X-Trail.

One of the suspects ordered Mr Chikarakara’s wife to strip intending to rape her.

The other gang members allegedly dissuaded him from raping her. 

They tied up Mr Chikarakara and his wife using the hem of a blanket before fleeing from the scene.

The detectives said the stolen property is yet to be fully recovered as the accused alleges that the bulk of the stolen property has since been sold to some buyers only known by his accomplices who are still at large. Njanji is  among the first Zimdancehall artistes to promote road safety.

Released last week, his song will be used as a campaign tool against drunk driving, driving without a licence, failure to adhere to road rules and driving while fatigued among other mishaps that have caused loss of lives and injuries on the country’s roads.

In an interview with The Herald two weeks ago, Njanji said he will hold road safety campaigns around the country.

“We are busy engaging different stakeholders to roll out road safety campaigns. We will use music to attract young people, then engage them in useful discussions on how to curb road carnage,” he said at the time

The musician has used the same strategy in cancer awareness last year releasing single “Fighting Breast Cancer” after which he held an event in Bulawayo that saw scores of people turning up.

“As a musician I feel it is my duty to educate and inform people on pressing issues affecting our society. This is why I got into music,” said Njanji.

Njanji started recording his music in 2016. He has gradually grown over the past two years releasing two albums and several singles.

The artiste has also been staging live shows across Matabelaland and Midlands provinces. In his journey to seek international recognition, Njanji recently performed in Tete, Mozambique.

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