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MBABANE – An unknown thief is said to have broken into an Asian national’s shop and stole E500 worth of coins and Rock Buns, among other items.  

The name of the store is Thin Forest Grocery and it is situated at Mvutjini, around Ezulwini. The robbery incident is said to have taken place in the wee hours of Sunday and the thief, who is believed to be in his 20s, managed to steal a 2l of Coca-Cola, boxes of cigarettes, an assorted range of power banks and two packets of Rock Buns. The suspect is said to have gained access to the store after cutting a hole from the rooftop. Unbeknown to him, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras recorded all his movements while he was going about his modus operandi.

The shop owner, Faruk Patel, said this was not the first time an incident of this nature occurred. This year alone, he said his shop had been broken into three times. “Since I opened the shop in 2020, there have been seven break-ins and three robbery incidents that happened. I am even contemplating on having a gun to protect myself and my employees, because it seems as though I am always targeted. I do not feel safe anymore,” he said. He also mentioned that there was a robbery incident where his son was stabbed in the head and mouth and the thugs went away with E500 and other items.


“My son doesn’t want to work here anymore because of the stabbing incident during the robbery,” he added. A community police member, who preferred anonymity, said he had gone to purchase something at the shop and that was when he got to learn about the incident. He urged the community of Mvutjini and surrounding areas to help in finding the suspect, who was easy to identify through the CCTV footage. He went on to discourage such crimes, which seem to be targeted to grocery shops owned by Asian businesspeople, and said they were in the communities to provide goods and services to the people and they should be treated fairly, just like every other business. The incident was also confirmed by Chief Police Information and Communications Officer (PICO) Superintendent Phindile Vilakati as she said the police were investigating the matter and were working around the clock to apprehend the suspect. She said the overall amount of the stolen items, including the cash, was E1 070.

Earlier this month, some shop owners around Gobholo in Mbabane were forced to close their businesses early, in fear of being robbed of their money and valuable items. Three weeks ago, this publication reported about an incident where four armed men robbed Gugulethu Rahi General Dealer and walked away with cigarettes, a cellphone and cash ranging between E6 000 and E7 000 at Gobholo. This was not the first time the businessman was robbed. According to the businessman, he used to operate two shops at Gobholo, the other one being Nkanka, but later shut it down due to persistent robberies. In the previous incident at Nkanka shop, three men armed with a 9mm pistol and a knife robbed the shop of E300 and three cellphones.

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Should government pay E1 500 unemployment grant?