A SUSPECTED anti-tank mine exploded at Gweru Rural Police Station on Thursday, shattering windows of buildings and wind shields of several vehicles parked nearby.
BY SILAS NKALA
According to a leaked police internal memo gleaned by Southern Eye, at around 10am, Master Ndirwo (46), a general hand at ZRP Gweru Rural Police Station, was burning litter in a rubbish pit near the perimeter fence of the station.
At around 2:45pm, Ndirwo went to put out the fire that had spread out off the pit towards the fence.
“When he was about four metres towards the pit, an explosion occurred in the direction of the pit. He managed to flee from the scene unhurt,” the memo read.
“The scene was attended to by both DUB [duty uniform branch] and Police Criminal Investigations Department details. The Zimbabwe national engineers for Midlands province were summoned. The army engineers suspected that the explosion was a result of an anti-tank mine owing to the following observations: a big jacaranda tree stump was uprooted, the magnitude of the explosion which shook nearby buildings, the fact that there were no fragments of the anti-tank at the blast scene and the explosion could have been a result of the heat generated by fire and sun.”
The memo said an anti-tank mine remains lethal as long as it has not exploded.
“Seven cars which were parked along 8th Street closer to the scene had their windscreens and door glasses shattered by fragments from the uprooted tree stump,” the memo said.
“During the time of scene attendance, the following vehicles were still present: A Toyota Corolla — rear windscreen was shattered and a Ford Bantum — front windscreen was shattered and a Nissan Elgrand had a shattered front windscreen.”
The memo said some nearby buildings were affected by the tremor caused by the explosion, including the charge office.
“Five roofing tiles of Lutheran Church situated about 120 metres from the scene were hit by fragments from the blast and fell inside the church. Heritage Housing Project building situated along 8th Street about 30 metres from the scene had some of its windows shattered and the value of the damage is yet to be established. No one was injured following the blast,” the police said.
“It is suspected that the anti-tank mine could either have been buried or planted during the liberation struggle. The explosion could have been ignited by the heat emanating from the rubbish pit, which is about four metres from the point of blast.”
Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Ethel Mukwende referred questions to her superiors in Harare.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the blast, but said they were still carrying out investigations.
“What I can confirm is that a general hand was burning litter at a rubbish pit and in the process, there was an explosion, which the police are still conducting investigations with a view to establishing what transpired. Once we get to the bottom of the matter, we will apprise members of the public,” he said.