An armed hijacker who, together with his partner, robbed a Mochudi man of his double cab Toyota Hilux at gun-point last week was arrested in South Africa after the vehicle overturned in a police chase.
The Zimbabwean suspect, Patrick Lovemore Chirunga, is under heavy police escort at Mafikeng Provincial Hospital after he was found in possession of a South African Police service pistol suspected to have been used in the cross-border crime.
It is alleged that on Wednesday afternoon last week Chirunga and his partner in crime, who were driving a Toyota Corolla, accosted the Hilux owner, Freddy Mogomotsi, in Mochudi before robbing him of the vehicle.
The two suspects are said to have flashed their headlights vigorously at Mogomotsi while he drove, prompting him to believe that they were in need of some aid.
However, when he stopped, the two men disembarked their vehicle and one tried to remove the keys out of Mogomotsi’s ignition.
The key did not easily slide out and as he was about to attempt to maneuver his way out of the situation one of the suspects is alleged to have produced a handgun pulled the slide back releasing a bullet into its chamber.
He then succumbed to his assailants and left his car to them.
A curious motorist, who witnessed the event, nearly offered Mogomotsi his assistance but sped away at the sight of the weapon.
The assailants then proceeded to flee the scene in the direction of Mabule where they had already cut the border fence.
Having proceeded through the gap in the fence, they were then involved in a high speed chase with members of the South African Patrol officers who had observed them.
The chase is said to have involved four vehicles, all with Botswana license plates and suspected to be stolen, prompting the authorities to believe that the operation was a regular occurrence. During the chase, the Hilux that Chirunga was driving overturned and he was duly apprehended and the fire arm was seized before he was taken to the hospital.
Assistant Superintendent Malatsi Baakile of Mochudi Police confirmed the hijacking and urged the public to be vigilant and exercise caution at all times.
“People should not stop for strangers especially in non-populated areas. These are the areas that you are most vulnerable at. In this case the victim was lucky another vehicle passed by. Things could have been worse.”
Meanwhile Lobatse police were involved in another high speed chase on Thursday, where two suspects allegedly stole a Toyota Corolla before proceeding to rob a local Barcelos restaurant.
When the police attempted to stop the vehicle, one of the suspects opened fire on them and a gunfight ensued. One of the suspects was wounded in the exchange of fire and is currently recuperating under heavy police guard.