Monday, 17 July 2017

Meet The Notorious Masendeke -- The Man Who Escaped From Chikurubi Prison

The name “Masendeke” is the stuff of legend in Zimbabwe. Synonymous with such heinous crimes as rape, murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and jail breaking, the name is one that many know.It was in 1995 that the country was forced to take notice of the now infamous name. 

This was after Edmund Edgar – the most notorious of the infamous Masendeke brothers – had killed a woman in Masvingo and stole her car.

Until then a petty criminal, Edmund had graduated into the big time, marking the start of a notoriety that has seemingly been transferred to his siblings. Like rabid dogs, some of the Masendeke brothers have since then been the instruments of fear and destruction.

As outlaws, some of the brothers have travelled the length and width of the country, robbing and kidnapping victims at will. Although the long arm of the law has often caught up with some of the Masendeke siblings, some are still on the run.

It was Edmund who seemingly established the crime family’s reputation as a mere 23-year-old who pleaded guilty to 38 charges ranging from rape to murder. He was sentenced to death and executed in 1997.

“The Terror of Gutu”, Edmund was one of the most wanted criminals in Zimbabwe before he was arrested in Mozambique. In two short years, he robbed and terrorised people in Mutare, Gutu, Kwekwe and Gweru. In those two years, the robber got away with cash and goods worth more than Z$151 000, a huge amount then.
Meet The Notorious Masendeke -- The Man Who Escaped From Chikurubi Prison
Forming a vicious partnership with Stephen Chidhumo, the pair embarked on probably the most daring jail break in Zimbabwe when they stormed out of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare. The pair had previously escaped from Masvingo Remand Prison after they struck wardens with shovels, leaving them unconscious.

Masendeke eluded police for two years and often made cross-border sojourns into Mozambique. A combined Police, Army, Airforce and Central Intelligence Organisation operation (“Operation Masendeke”) tracked the infamous robber to Mozambique. After he was arrested, Masendeke was brought to court in leg irons amid tight security.

Courtrooms were always packed by curious people who wanted to get a glimpse of Masendeke, and his execution was seen by many as the closing of a dark chapter.

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