Malawi Police in Thyolo are keeping in custody a taxi operator and three other men for allegedly stealing over MK1 million at Chipiku Stores and robbing Airtel and TNM airtime from a dealer using rifles at the Boma.
Thyolo Police Station Officer (SO) Bostons Amanzi confirmed the arrest.
He said the taxi operator identified as Frazer Banda together with his friends were arrested on suspicion that they were behind a series of armed robberies over the past few weeks that have left many business persons in the district feeling insecure.
Amanzi said on May 30 this year, at around half past three in the afternoon, the suspects – armed with two rifles – stormed Chipiku Stores at Thyolo Number One Trading Centre and demanded cash from the manageress, Charity Kamanga.
“The suspects went away with cash amounting to K1, 086.801.11 and two cell phones, a Nokia x2 and Samsung worth MK17, 000 and MK 49,000 respectively,” said Amanzi adding that they sped off from the scene of crime using a silver Toyota Starlet, registration number BN 6030.
The Station Officer further explained that on June 13, four men carrying a rifle and three Panga knives entered the shop of Mary Gondwe, a dealer of Airtel money and TNM Mpamba, and demanded cash from her.
“The four armed men who were driving a silver Toyota Carina entered the shop peacefully and pretended as if they were customers. Later on, they closed the door and ordered everyone to sleep on the floor at gun point.
“Thereafter, they ordered Gondwe to surrender all the cash in her possession. Fortunately, Gondwe had already deposited some of the cash (MK280, 000) and had remained with only MK110, 000, which the suspects managed to get away with,” he said.
According to Amanzi, the suspects were arrested in Chiradzulu by the district’s police.
The police have since recovered 11 live ammunitions for AK 47 rifles wrapped in a plastic bag and were similar to cartridges recovered at Chipiku Shop. The vehicle that was used during the robbery was also identified.
Meanwhile inquiries are underway to recover some of the stolen items.
The four are; Elaton Matias, 40, from Chabwera Village in the area of Traditional Authority T/A) Mabuka in Mulanje; Sandason Kholiyo, 38, from Chabwera Village in T/A Mabuka, Mulanje; Harlod Khungwa, 29, from Lumina Village in T/A Chikumbu in Mulanje and Frazer Banda, 40, from Chiswe Village in T/A Machinjiri in Blantyre.