BEITBRIDGE residents have blasted the local police officers, accusing them of taking their eyes off the ball and letting go two suspected armed robbers arrested following a tip-off from the community.
Some residents allege police may have been corrupted to let the suspects walk away.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said reports from Beitbridge showed the two suspects were leading police during investigations when they fled to South Africa.
“They fled across the river when they were leading police during investigations. The information we have is different from what you are saying, but we will investigate both scenarios,” Nyathi said.
It is reported that last week, a man who frequents the Limpopo River came across three men and noticed that one of them was armed with a pistol.
The man alerted security agents patrolling the border line on an operation called “No To Cross Border Crimes” whose quick response resulted in the arrest of two while the other believed to have been carrying the firearm fled.
They were taken to Beitbridge Police, where they were handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department officers.
Sources said the suspects denied local criminal activity and told police their hunting ground was the neighbouring South Africa.
“What worries us is how the suspects were secured. Do we have a report on missing handcuffs? Were they being escorted on foot? Did police attempt to shoot at the escaping suspects?” asked a Beitbridge victim of a recent robbery.
Beitbridge has been rocked by several incidents of violent armed robbers where firearms have been used.
A child from Kwalu Suburb, also known as SDP, was shot in the knee during a recent armed robbery.
Another man had the windscreen of his car shattered by repeated gunfire and is lucky to have survived a robbery attempt after he threw his bag with cash at a neighbour’s house where suspects got scared of dogs.
Officer commanding Beitbridge Police District Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo confirmed there was a robbery in the eastern suburbs of Beitbridge where a firearm was used on Tuesday night.
“I can confirm those reports, yes,” he said.
The robbers, some of whom are believed to be from Musina, appear to have information and target money changers, hundreds of whom operate in Beitbridge. _*NewsDay*_