A soldier allegedly ran amok at an Allied Bank branch in Harare yesterday morning after he was dissatisfied with the financial institution's services, reportedly forcing a security guard to discharge teargas. Indications are that the soldier and his accomplices assaulted a manager at Allied Bank's Travel Centre branch.
However, police last night denied that any member of the security services was involved.
Allied Bank business director Mrs Florence Gowora said, "The incident was caused by a soldier who came to our Travel Centre branch.
"He wanted to withdraw cash but in the process went to the customer services counter and asked for cash.
"Our customer services officer directed him to the cash withdrawals counter but he refused to listen, insisting that he wanted cash there.
"In the process he picked up a CPU (a computer central processing unit) and started to move towards the door and that's when our security guard followed him."
She said there was a scuffle and a manager tried to intervene but he was overpowered by the soldier and "other people who seemed to be in connivance with him".
"When our security guard realised the situation was getting out of hand, he used a spray to disperse the mob."
Police disputed claims in some sections of the media that police officers had rioted.
A statement signed by Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi last night read: "The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to make it clear that the commotion which took place on 16 December 2013 at Allied Bank corner Jason Moyo (Avenue) and Third Street branch was not caused by police officers or other uniformed services members".
On the assault of a manager, Chief Supt Nyathi said, "We confirm receiving a report concerning the scuffle which allegedly took place at Allied Bank in the city where one of the bank's clients assaulted the bank manager as people were queuing to withdraw their money."
No arrests had been made at the time of writing.
Allied Bank chief executive officer Mr Stephen Gwasira apologised to depositors, saying there were "challenges" of liquidity in the economy.
"Allied Bank sincerely apologises for the inconvenience emanating from the prevailing cash shortages and assures its valued customers that the bank is making aggressive efforts to address the liquidity constraints.
"We are confident that these efforts will yield positive results," he said.