Three bandits yesterday staged a dramatic daylight robbery during which they stole an undisclosed amount of money from Lusaka’s Hussein Wholesalers on Freedom Way.
The robbers, two of them armed with AK47 semi-automatic rifles, raided the shop just before it closed at 12:30 hours.
The criminals started their operation by firing gunshots in the air, instinctively forcing customers and shop owners to take cover. Passers-by hid behind cars while others scampered.
In the confusion, some of the robbers forced their way into the shop. A security guard was ‘neutralised’ at the sight of the armed robbers who ordered everyone in the vicinity to lie down.
Within minutes, the robbers had grabbed a carton box containing cash from the shop, jumped into a Toyota Corolla car and sped off after firing more gun shots in the air.
The robbers emptied the box of the money and threw the container out of the car as they sped away.
The car turned off Freedom Way and onto Katondo Street. Some witnesses said they saw the car turn onto Cha Cha Cha Road and vanished in the traffic.
It was not immediately clear if the driver was also a robber or was hijacked as some witnesses said he seemed to be driving under duress.
And a check at the shop after the incident found armed officers from the flying squad patrolling the city centre.
The flying squad arrested a taxi driver whom they suspected to have assisted the bandits to escape.
One of the workers at the shop, Ronald Sinkala, said in an interview that the robbers shot three warning shots to force the owner of the shop to release the money.
“We were actually about to close the shop when one of the bandits walked in calmly with a pistol and his colleagues followed and fired three shots just to ensure our boss releases the money,” Mr Sinkala said.
He said it is still uncertain how much money the bandits got away with as the day’s cashing was yet to be counted.
And one of the customers who was caught up in the incident described the ordeal as traumatising.
Evelyn Lingililani, who was visibly shaken, said she was the only lady in the shop at the time of the incident.
The owner of the shop was unavailable for a comment by press time as he was reported to be at the police station.
[Zambia Daily Mail]