23 February 2018

Zimbabwe: One Killed, Two Injured in City Clashes

Photo: Kudakwashe Hunda/The Herald
A policeman uses a fire extinguisher to put out a fire on one of the vehicles that were torched by rowdy touts at Harare Central Police Station last night.

At least one person was killed, while two others were seriously injured yesterday evening in Harare when police clashed with commuters in the central business district (CBD).

Two vehicles were reduced to shells, while Harare Central Police Station was stoned and heavily damaged by a rowdy mob.

Windows at the entrance to the charge office were shattered by missiles as people protested the death of a man in the capital.

The mayhem followed a directive by Harare City Council banning commuter omnibus operators and on-street vendors from operating in the CBD.

There were running battles last night as the crowd threw missiles at police officers who fired teargas canisters.

This resulted in the death of one person.

Eyewitnesses said trouble started when police approached a Chitungwiza-bound kombi that was dropping passengers at Seke Road flyover.

The driver is said to have resisted instructions by the police not to drop passengers at the undesignated point.

This resulted in an altercation that exploded into a running battle.

Police fired teargas canisters to wade off the marauding crowd.

"The police fired warning shots to try to disperse the swelling crowd who were already jeering at them," said Mr Marvellous Vhiriri.

The crowd latter regrouped and pitched up at ZRP Charge Office in central Harare where they threw missiles leaving a trail of destruction.

The regrouping of the crowd seemed to have caught the police ill-prepared. They withdrew and called for reinforcement. When The Herald arrived at charge office around 2000 hours missiles were strewn all over the Charge Office while the body of the deceased lay on the floor.

Police details could also be seen pushing vehicles that were parked adjacent to the Charge Office in a bid to save them from catching fire.

The bus terminus had been cordoned off.

Police details could be seen patrolling the area around the terminus while intermittently firing teargas canisters.

Police chief spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba's mobile phone was unreachable last night while her deputy Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi was not picking calls.

The MDC-T led Harare City Coucil had announced that it was relocating commuter omnibus from the CBD and on street vendors.

Government has since reversed the decision to allow further consultation.

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