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POLICE say they are still clueless as to the identity of
people who shot and killed six unarmed civilians in post-election violence on
August 1, but warned they would soon arrest MDC leader Nelson Chamisa for
allegedly inciting his supporters and ordinary Zimbabweans to protest.
Appearing before the Commission of inquiry into the August
1 violence, acting officer commanding (crime) Harare, Detective Chief Inspector
Edmore Runganga said the police thus far did not have any suspects or leads on
who shot and killed the six.
“We have not made any arrests in relation to the death of
the six people. We have not yet established what caused their death although we
now have post-mortem reports which indicate that the deaths were caused by
projectiles from firearms. We don’t know the exact place of shootings because
there are no witnesses,” he said.
Pressed by Commissioner Lovemore Madhuku to explain if they
had any suspects or leads on who had shot dead the six, Runganga said they had
only questioned MDC activists arrested in connection with the demonstrations
and had no other suspects.
“We only asked those MDC guys who we had arrested on
charges of public violence if they knew anything on the shootings, and they did
not know anything. But so far, we don’t have other suspects in connection with
the shootings,” he said.
Runganga said despite not having any suspects and leads on
the shootings, they had now elevated their three-month long investigation to a
murder investigation.
“Now that we have the post-mortem reports, we are now
treating it as a murder case,” he said.
The police suspected the dead could also have been shot by
business people or the military wing of the MDC, who they suspected to hold
small arms.
Runganga was left clutching at straws when Commissioner Rodney
Dixon challenged him to explain how small arms could have caused the death of
the six when post-mortem results show the bullets were from high velocity
weapons, in the nature of rifles.
Reporting on the progress of investigations, Runganga, who
blamed the MDC for the post-election violence, said they had managed to arrest
41 opposition party activists, who have since appeared before the courts.
“So far, we have investigated the assault on people who
reported. We also investigated the malicious damage to property involving
various vehicles and shops that had been damaged. We are also investigating the
incident in which six people died,” he said.
“The 41 who we arrested were demonstrators who committed
the crimes we are talking about. The majority belonged to the political party,
for example, Tendai Biti. He is a leader of a political party, Jim Kunaka is
linked to a political party. So we concluded that they belong to MDC Alliance.”
On Chamisa, who is accused of having incited violence prior
to and after the elections, Runganga said the police were looking to arrest him
soon after investigations were completed.
“We have not made any arrests of people who were inciting
violence prior to the elections because we are investigating to try and have
concrete evidence on how they incited the violence. Once the investigations are
complete, they will definitely be charged for inciting violence, as defined by
section 187, as read with section 36 and 37 of the Code,” he said.
Earlier, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice
Priscilla Chigumba blamed Chamisa for inciting his supporters to be violent and
placed the blame of the August 1 shootings on his shoulders.
She said the actions of Chamisa were appalling and had been
reported to the police, who were yet to take action.
Chigumba, however, condemned the army for using live
ammunition against unarmed civilians. She said live ammunition could only have
been used as a last resort.
The army has, however, denied shooting anyone during the
operation where they deployed 62 soldiers as part of the National Reaction
Force led by Brigadier-General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe, to quell the protests
which had allegedly turned violent.
The soldiers, armed with whips, AK 47 assault rifles and
baton sticks managed to restore order in the central business district within
just 90 minutes. Newsday

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