Robbers gun down cop

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A senior police officer was on Friday shot by armed robbers near Kwekwe Civic centre and was on Friday night admitted at Kwekwe General Hospital where authorities declined to disclose his condition.

Chief Inspector Charles Pabwaungana was shot in the stomach and the bullet was still lodged inside. A source at the hospital said arrangements were underway to have him airlifted to Harare.

The officer was shot by one of three suspects he had earlier arrested in Kwekwe’s Masasa Park suburb at Manamana shopping centre.

Kwekwe Medical Superintendent Patricia Mapanda confirmed that a police officer was indeed at the hospital but refused to comment on his condition.

“We cannot comment on a patient’s condition unless we are instructed to do so. If you want information of that nature you have to get it from the police,” said Mapanda.

Police Spokesman Patrick Chademana confirmed the incident but said he was not in the office and could therefore not comment further.

“Yes I heard about the shooting but unfortunately I am not yet in the office I will only be available in the evening, you can try me at that time,” said Chademana.

When NewsDay paid a visit to the hospital senior police officers and the family of Pabwaungana were in prayer by his bedside in the male surgical ward.

A close friend (police officer) who refused to be named said he was in a stable condition and was speaking to his peers from the hospital bed.

“I don’t think he is in any danger at the moment. When I went to visit him he was speaking although you could tell he was in pain. Otherwise his condition is stable,” said the friend.

According to unofficial police reports Pabwaungana was coming from a meeting at the District Administrator’s office in town in a car belonging to a Kwekwe businessman Ben Rutsito when they obtained information that three suspects had been apprehended at the shopping centre by residents.

The Chief Inspector, who was also in the company of two police constables, then drove with Rutsito to the shopping centre where they found the suspects under citizen arrest.

Sources said the suspects were then handed over to the police officers who then ordered them to get into the Toyota twin cab without cuffing or searching them before driving towards Kwekwe Central Police Station.

The three suspects were made to sit in the cab behind the driver while Rutsito drove the car. Pabwaungana was in the passenger seat while the other two officers sat in the back.

One of the suspects is reported to have pulled out a pistol and instructed the driver to drive past the police station towards Gweru.

However, Pabwaungana is reported to have pushed one of the suspects resulting in him being shot in the stomach.

The policemen sitting at the back are reported to have said they could not see what was happening inside the car because of its heavily tinted windows.

They only reacted to the sound of gun fire, but could not chase the armed suspects before ascertaining the condition of their boss who had been shot.

The suspects then escaped on foot, scaling a wall at Kwekwe High School.