The AK47 rifle that was used in an incident where a police officer was allegedly gunned down by his junior at Marondera Support Unit base has been recovered stashed in long grass less than a kilometre from the crime scene.
BY Jairos Saunyama
Constable Phillip Tichaona Kavhukatema (32) is currently on the run after he fatally shot Sergeant Major James Kazembe (42) on Saturday morning over yet undisclosed reasons
Efforts to get a comment from Mashonaland East Province acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Tendai Mwanza were fruitless yesterday.
However, this paper is reliably informed that on April 30, the accused called his colleague (name withheld) at the Support Unit base camp inquiring whether officers had recovered the assault rifle.
It is alleged after being told that the rifle was nowhere to be found, Kavhukatema gave verbal directions to his colleague to where he had left the gun.
Police officers were then deployed to search the area, leading to the recovery of the AK47 rifle with a magazine with 26 rounds stashed in grass near the Harare-Mutare railway line, some 800m away from the camp.
On the fateful day at around 0330hrs, a police officer identified as Sergeant Mazinyani was awakened by the harsh opening of the tent by Kavhukatema, who, armed with the service rifle, asked for Kazembe’s whereabouts.
Upon sensing danger and with the accused pointing the gun at him, Mazinyani then pointed to where the now-deceased was sleeping.
Kavhukatema then fired two shots towards Kazembe, with one shot hitting him on the right armpit, while the other one missed.
Mazinyani then tried to disarm the suspect, but failed with the former escaping death by a whisker after two shots were directed at him and narrowly missed his head. Mazinyani then rushed to Dombotombo Police Station to file a report.
After the heinous act, Kavhukatema, still armed with the rifle (serial nunber ZRP 2233), walked out of the camp through a pedestrian gate towards Harare-Mutare Highway before disappearing.
Some officers then rushed to the tent and found Kazembe lying in a pool of blood, while others were rendering first aid to him.
Kazembe was ferried to Marondera Provincial Hospital and was declared dead upon arrival.
Reinforcements in the form of detectives and dog section attended the scene and tried to locate the suspect, but failed.
Police have since launched a manhunt for Kavhukatema in connection with the gruesome murder.