Zimbabwe steps up private security after spike in armed robberies

Zimbabwe has stepped up its private security sector with retired police officers and soldiers returning to work for private security companies as armed robberies spiral out of control.

The veterans are being called upon to support private security firms and the police after the authorities are becoming overwhelmed and under resourced to monitor robberies. Zimbabwe National Statistics (Zimstats) agency revealed that between 2020 and 2021 there was an average of 25 armed robberies per day in the country. The statistics body added that since January this year, there had been a 9% increase in robberies with 100 suspects arrested, of which 28 were convicted.

Lobels, a confectionary company, lost about R21.48 million in American dollars (US$1.2 million) to robbers in March after its offices were raided in the second largest city, Bulawayo.

One of the country’s biggest gold producers, How Mine, that is owned by the Metallon Corporation, which was founded by South African mining magnate Mzi Khumalo, was robbed of 12kg of gold in transit. The suspects, who made off with the gold worth about R12 million, were linked to four other robberies.

For security companies, the situation is volatile considering some of the robberies are mounted on their transit routes but private security companies are being called upon to help.

Bekezela Moyo of Allied Security said: “Looking at what’s happening, we have to work hand in hand with the police force and army more than ever.” Allied Security is one of many private security firms with retired senior army and police officers in its ranks.

Some of the biggest targets in robberies have turned out to be mining companies moving gold, businesses that deal in cash, and banks. These businesses have internal security and the police, but they now also have budgets for external contract security.

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