THREE HIGHWAY armed robbers who targetted long distance buses have been jailed for a combined 51 years.

Jabson Shonhe (39) of Chief Mkoka’s area near Manoti, in Gokwe South and his accomplice Freddy Ginotry Chibwana (28) of Gadza village, were sentenced 20 years for robbing passengers aboard Smart Bus Service during which Margaret Mungani was killed and three other passengers injured near Beitbridge on December 17 last year.

Shonhe and Chibwana will each serve 15 years for the Smart Bus Service robbery with five years from each term conditionally suspended for five years.

The duo, together with Samuel Moyo (29) from the same area, who was not part of the Smart Bus Service robbery, were each sentenced to 10 years for the RegStep Bus Service robbery, which they committed outside Beitbridge nearly two weeks later. They will serve an effective seven years after three years were conditionally suspended.

All the three robbers implicated each other and mobile phones taken from their victims were found on their person.

Shonhe, a South-Africa based international truck driver and kingpin of the gang would, in some cases, park his haulage truck, commit crimes and then proceed on work related trips.

He was found in possession of a Smith and Wesson revolver, said to have been used during the Smart-Bus Service robbery.

Chibwana and Shonhe will appear in court again on February 22, facing murder and attempted murder charges following the death of Mungani and attempted murder for the injuries inflicted on three other passengers shot during the robbery of Smart Bus Service.

Shonhe also faces another charge of being in possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Regional magistrate Crispen Mberewere presided over the case.

Meanwhile, police have appealed to bus operators to enhance safety measures on buses by installing CCTV monitors.

“They can also have passenger manifests, desist from carrying passengers who want to drop on the way if it is a long distance bus. They must be wary of suspicious passengers asking to relieve themselves in strange locations,” police spokesperson Commissioner Charity Charamba said.

“Bus crews should ask for passports from cross-border travellers and report passengers without documentation to police manning roadblocks along the way,” she said .newsday