POLICE have finally opened up on their investigations into the Chitungwiza tragedy saying yesterday the blast that killed five people last week had been caused by explosives that detonated at the Zengeza house.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA STAFF REPORTER
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba called a Press conference in Harare and told journalists that it had come to the police’s attention that grenades and other explosives had of late been a source of money for some unscrupulous dealers.
She said the dealers sought to extract red mercury from the explosives which was believed to sell for a fortune on the black market.
Police had recently arrested three people in Manicaland who had been caught trying to sell a grenade while one was injured in Waterfalls, Harare, when four members of the same family were trying to open a grenade, apparently in a bid to extract mercury.
“Preliminary investigations show that the blast was due to explosives,” said Charamba. “We, therefore, need to be very cautious.
“We are still conducting more investigations, but people are getting excited and are buying explosives because they have mercury. They (explosives) are designed to explode and cause serious injury and death. We now have three cases in Waterfalls, Chitungwiza and Manicaland,” said Charamba.
“Four members of the same family tried to open a grenade and it exploded seriously injuring one member who lost four fingers. In Manicaland, two suspects were arrested for trying to sell motor bombs alleging that they carried mercury which people think can make them millionaires overnight,” said Charamba.
Police said they were investigating where the people involved in the explosives trade were getting them from. Charamba said contrary to media reports there was no soldier amongst the deceased, but an ex-police officer.
The Chitungwiza explosion made international news headlines as mystery surrounding the blast remained unresolved as security officials remained mum. Speculation was that the explosion was caused by some supernatural powers associated with goblins and lightning-manufacturing.
A sixth person, an elderly man, died on Monday, allegedly from the effects of the blast.