Chipinge — Two army officers and four civilians were arrested by police for allegedly assaulting and killing a local man following an altercation.
The soldiers, Vitalis Dube of Shamva and Terence Kagogoda from Chipinge, together with their co-accused Maxwell Sithole (40), Onai Vimbani (42), Batanai Simango (39) and Shingai Mhlanga (29) of Zibuka village under Chief Gwenzi appeared before magistrate Poterai Gwezhira facing murder charges.
They denied the charges and were remanded in custody.
The group was advised to apply for bail through the High Court.
Prosecutor Timothy Katsande told court that on February 26, 2020 at around 11 am, the six suspects, acting in connivance, went to Masocha Irrigation scheme under Chief Gwenzi in Chipinge.
The officers are reported to have been enlisted by a family whose relative was allegedly stabbed and injured by another villager identified as Gift Mahembe, who was said to have been evading police after the crime.
Upon their arrival at the irrigation scheme, Gwenzi and Kagogoda who were clad in military uniform and armed with an AK 47 rifle and a sjambok, found Mahembe and Sofelani Mtisi working in the field.
Mtisi was holding a hoe and a machete while Mahembe was also holding a hoe.
The soldiers reportedly called Mahembe to come close so they could discuss the matter.
The two reportedly became aggressive and charged towards the army officers.
Mtisi struck Kagogoda once on his left shoulder with a machete and he sustained a deep cut.
Mahembe was also said to have struck Maxwell Sithole on his left thumb with a hoe before they both fled.
The army officers who gave chase eventually caught up with Mahembe whom they took turns to assault with open hands, booted feet, sticks and a baton stick several times all over his body.
Mahembe was seriously injured and rushed to Mount Selinda Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. Kagogoda was also admitted at the same hospital.
Mahembe's body was medically examined by a Doctor Brian Makumbo who concluded that death was due to severe head injury secondary to assault.