Police on Saturday reportedly unleashed a brutal crackdown by attacking residents of a mine compound in Shamva, killing one person on allegations they had stolen a purse containing a mobile phone and $1 belonging to the wife of the officer-in-charge at the local police station.
Many others were injured, two of them seriously and are battling for life at Shashe Hospital in Bindura.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijeja confirmed the tragic incident.
“We received the report of the disturbances in Shamva and we gather that one person died. We are still carrying out investigations as to what really transpired,” he said.
The deceased was identified as Laxmore Chivambo (age not given).
The late Chivambo’s aunt, Hildah Mwashita, narrated how her nephew was murdered.
“He was beaten at home at around 11pm on Saturday. They then lifted him up and took him outside where they continued assaulting him. He was then taken to the police station around 2am after which they took him to the hospital. We suspect he had already died when they took him there,” she said, battling to suppress tears.
The attack triggered massive demonstrations yesterday as hundreds of residents besieged the police station, baying for the blood of the perpetrators. When NewsDay visited Shamva, the angry demonstrators vowed to leave no stone unturned in their bid to have the officer-in-charge, only identified as Inspector Shumba, and his officers brought to book. However, gates to the police station were locked and were manned by riot police. Earlier, the police fired teargas to disperse the angry demonstrators who were poised to mete instant justice on the police officers.
Victims said the attack was triggered by the “theft” of the purse of Shumba’s wife who had gone to the compound to sell her wares.
“She went and told her husband who then commandeered his officers and drove them to the compound at around 9pm. They knocked at doors and beat up whoever opened. Some people were arrested and taken to the police only to be released on Sunday around 2pm. They (the police) used baton sticks, clenched fists and any weapon they could lay their hands on,” said one of victims Tatenda Manyozo.
Residents said Shumba and his entire team were no longer welcome in Shamva.
“We do not want to see all the police officers at this camp. We want them all arrested because there is no one above the law. We cannot have people being murdered for no reason whatsoever,” said Isaac Chinodakufa.
The tragedy comes hard on the heels of a similar rampage by soldiers in Mutare early this month who stormed the Sakubva police base and assaulted police officers for allegedly arresting their colleague for reportedly attacking civilians.