POLICE Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga yesterday ordered a probe into circumstances that triggered the violent clashes between vendors and law enforcement agents, culminating in the fatal shooting of two people at Seke Road in Harare Central on Thursday evening.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Matanga described as “regrettable” the deadly skirmishes, which left several people, including some police officers injured and property worth thousands of dollars destroyed as vendors and kombi crews fought running battles with police.
“From the onset, let me categorically state that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is currently seized with this matter and I have since directed a team of expert investigators to establish the cause, what transpired, who was responsible and action will be taken,” Matanga said, adding his officers were forced to fire into the crowd after they were cornered.
Thursday’s skirmishes were triggered by kombi crews and vendors, who were resisting a council directive to vacate the central business district and operate from designated sites outside the city.
“A team of police officers from Harare Central was confronted by an angry mob armed with stones, concrete pillars and rods. The crowd started to throw stones at the police officers whilst demanding to know why they had earlier on dispersed them alongside Harare municipal police,” Matanga said.
He said the angry mob advanced towards the police officers, forcing them to fire warning shots in the air.
“It was at this stage that the police officers fired shots that unfortunately killed two people and injured four others. In the ensuing violence, three police officers were seriously injured, a police vehicle severely damaged and two others were burnt, several were stoned and property worth thousands of dollars was extensively destroyed,” the police boss claimed.
Matanga added that they were also investigating the intra-party violence that rocked MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral in Buhera on Tuesday where the party’s deputy president, Thokozani Khupe and two other leaders were allegedly assaulted by youth from a rival camp.