Harare — THREE passengers have been injured as Zimbabwean police opened fire on a taxi that allegedly refused orders to stop at a road block.
The incident in the capital city Harare brings to the fore the heavy-handedness of police in the Southern African country where running battles between police and taxi drivers are rife.
These tensions escalate during the festive season as police beef up their presence on the roads.
Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the police spokesman, confirmed the shooting.
He apologised to the victims aged between 24 and 32. They have been admitted for treatment at the Parirenyatwa Hospital.
"As police, we want to apologise for this unfortunate incident which could have been avoided if the driver had taken heed of police instructions," Nyathi said.
The driver was not injured and sped off and abandoned the kombi in the city centre.
Apart from the failure to produce a driver's licence, the driver allegedly no route authority, vehicle licence and passengers' licence for the vehicle.
"We also urge commuter omnibus owners (taxi operators) not to employ unlicensed drivers. We urge drivers to stop at all police checkpoints and to comply with instructions," Nyathi said.
Nyathi confirmed the kombi driver was now facing charges of attempted murder, reckless driving and driving without a licence.
Zimbabwe security forces have a history of heavy handedness.
Earlier this year, soldiers opened fire and killed hordes of protesters following a 300 percent fuel increase.