Police in the town of Gwanda are reported to be assaulting people in their own homes in what they believe to be revenge attacks, following the murder of a police officer on Monday afternoon. According to Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), police fired teargas before “assaulting and seriously injuring” 12 residents in Garikai. The victims included the wife of the murder suspect, who was hospitalized with serious injuries.
The ZPP said other victims were denied medical treatment by staff at Gwanda hospital, who “demanded clearance letters from the police”. The armed Riot police then invaded bars and nightclubs and assaulted patrons in Pakama, Garikai, Ultra and Spitzkop on Monday and Tuesday night, injuring more residents. SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme received information from angry Gwanda residents who said an unofficial curfew had been declared by the police and they feared more attacks would follow.
The residents described the officers committing the assaults as “police in anti-riot gear”. Saungweme said the attacks began on Monday after a police officer, known only as Mamilimili, was fatally stabbed at a local pub called Cry Mantengwana Bar. The patrons tried to apprehend the suspect, but he fled before police arrived. “Instead of hunting down the person suspected to have stabbed the police officer, who is a well known patron in local bars, the police went on to attack everybody. They went into pubs and nightclubs in several areas,” Saungweme said. Our correspondent said the area was still tense as of Wednesday and people were staying indoors, fearing more revenge attacks by the police.