A gang of armed robbers hitting a Chadcombe house in Harare on Monday night found out the hard way that they were attacking the family of retired CID Homicide detective Mr Joseph Nemaisa who managed to race back home, leap over a wall and in the resulting gun fire exchange, took out three of the five robbers and saved his family from torture and further assault.
More remarkably, two of the robbers were armed with assault rifles, but while severely outgunned Mr Nemaisa used his training and almost two decades of experience in the CID to win through.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Nemaisa, who is now a practising lawyer, said he left home around 6pm going to Chisipite to do business, before receiving a call a few hours later from his son, Courage, that armed robbers were breaking into the house.
“I received a call around 9.30pm from my family informing me that armed robbers had raided my house. I then rushed to my house and gained entry by jumping over the security wall at the back of my yard.
“I then decided to fire some shots into the air in a bid to confuse the robbers,” he said.
Mr Nemaisa then discovered that all his family members had been bundled inside the main bedroom while the robbers were looking for cash and valuables.
“They were in my bedroom, holding my family hostage and one of them had switched on the iron trying to torture my wife so that she would disclose where the money was. Others were searching the bedroom,” he said.
He saw one of the robbers armed with an AK47 through the window and shot him once on the chest. The robber managed to crawl, shouting for help. Two other robbers were shot at the same point where the first one was shot, all of them through the window.
The other two robbers fired several shots while inside the house, before they jumped through a window and fled the scene.
Mr Nemaisa, who served 18 years with the CID, said his family was safe and had sustained no serious injuries except that they were still traumatised over the incident.
“This incident has nothing to do with my past but what I can say from my experience is that these robbers have been terrorising Hatfield residents. I am convinced that these are the same culprits. If they actually knew it was me living here, I don’t think they would have come raid this place,” he said.
The gang robbed the family of US$850, cellphones, a shot gun and various other property.
When The Herald visited the scene, bodies of the dead armed men had been taken to Sally Mugabe Central Hospital mortuary, while a team from the CID Homicide, CID Scenes of Crime, CID Forensic, ZRP Canine and ZRP Hatfield were at the scene.
Some of the neighbours were still in a state of shock and most of them said they couldn’t get out of their houses when they heard gunshots coming out of Mr Nemaisa’s house fearing they could be caught in the cross fire.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident.
According to information from police, Mr Nemaisa’s wife saw three men walking near their house before she closed the gate and parked her car and then joined her family in the living room.
After about five minutes, she heard their dogs barking viciously and instructed her brother, Masimba Musarurwa, to lock the main door, but as he was doing so she heard someone trying to force that door open. Her son, Courage Nemaisa then quickly phoned his father informing him of the intruders.
Police say the whole family went to their bedrooms while Mrs Nemaisa went into the bathroom where she locked herself in from inside.
The robbers then forced open the main door to the house before assaulting occupants and forcing them to lie down while at the same time demanding to see Mrs Nemaisa who came out to save her other family members from further assault. She was hit on the face and discovered that two of the robbers were armed with rifles.
The robbers were then led to the bedroom where she handed over US$850. They then ransacked the house and took a Samsung M20 cellphone belonging to Mrs Nemaisa, a black Acer laptop and a shotgun.
“When the accused persons were about to leave, Joseph Nemaisa arrived at the scene and shot at the accused who were still in the house and there was an exchange of gunfire which led to the death of three of the accused persons and damaging the walls and windows of the house.”
“The remaining two accused persons instructed complainant to search the bodies of three accused persons and collected all firearms, particulars and cellphones of their accomplices. They then got out of the house through one of the spare bedroom windows before escaping from the yard by scaling the precast wall,” reads part of the police statement.
Police recovered about 17 live rounds and 12 spent cartridges at the scene.
Businessman Dr Phillip Chiyangwa applauded Mr Nemaisa saying he had done a great job of protecting his family from armed robbers, who had been terrorising people.
“He has done a wonderful job. However, armed robbers should know that their days are numbered and if they choose to raid our houses or hijack our cars, they should also know that we are also armed and ready to deal with them in order to protect our families and properties,” he said.
Dr Chiyangwa said it was disturbing to note that most of the criminals were targeting people with large amounts of cash in their homes and urged the public to supply the police with information on anyone involved in such activities, for a crime-free society.