8 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Police, Army Set Up Teams to Fight 'Army' Civilian Abductions

Police and the army have set up joint reaction teams to attend to cases of harassment and abductions on civilians by alleged members of the uniformed forces in some of Harare's residential areas and in Chitungwiza.

In a joint statement Tuesday evening, the two security agencies said citizens must also try to capture visual images of the abuses but warned that they must be mindful not to put their lives in danger.

"Where possible without endangering yourself, please try to capture images of such assailants," said the statement.

Social media has been awash with reports of marauding people dressed on army uniform who invade drinking spots at night and start beating up revellers for no apparent reason.

But government, through Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, told ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe on Monday that claims of beatings and abductions of civilians were false.

Moyo said government has tried to verify the claims through enquiries of any victims reporting for treatment to Chitungwiza hospital but there were no cases linked to the said assaults.

In their statement Tuesday, police and the army said some of the cases linked to the army could be caused by criminals who would be impersonating serving members of the military.

"Some of these individuals might be criminals masquerading as soldiers," they said.

"We assure the nation that we are ready to protect them through efficient discharge of our duties."

The two security organisations said of all the alleged cases that have been circulated via social media, only three have formally been reported with investigations now underway.

"We can confirm that only three cases have been reported to the police one at Machipisa, Chitungwiza and Mabvuku police stations respectively," they said.

"The first case was perpetuated by unknown assailants who were driving a white pickup and wearing civilian attire who stormed a house and beat up the occupants.

"The second one was in Chitungwiza by unknown assailants and a similar modus operand was used in Mabvuku where another soldier's house was also stoned by unknown assailants."

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