GWANDA police have launched a manhunt for a gold panner who allegedly fatally stabbed a police officer and left two other patrons seriously injured following a beerhall brawl at Phakama business centre on Monday.
Report by Silas Nkala/Nqobile Bhebhe
Residents yesterday said the atmosphere in the Matabeleland South capital was tense as police officers were randomly searching residents and motorists coming in and out of the town.
Although Matabeleland South acting police spokesperson Sergeant Nkosilathi Sibanda declined to comment on the incident, referring NewsDay to the national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, sources identified the deceased cop as Constable Blessing Maminimini (30).
“We sent details to Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka,” Sibanda said.
“Contact him. He is the one who can comment on the incident.”
However, Mandipaka could not be reached for comment on both his landline and mobile phone numbers. Charamba referred NewsDay back to Gwanda police saying she did not have details of the incident.
It still remains unclear what sparked the skirmishes with residents saying the suspect fled the scene soon after the incident.
“We are now living in fear because many people were seriously beaten here since Monday,” said a resident who declined to be named.
“Police are beating people in Gwanda. We want it to stop now,” read a text message sent to NewDay from the town.
“When the other police officers heard that their colleague had been killed, they launched a manhunt for the murder suspect and started beating many people at the business centre and other parts of the town,” said another resident who asked for anonymity.