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Suspected Byo cop killers in court

TWO men from Bulawayo have been arraigned before the courts for allegedly fatally stoning a police officer in Njube suburb during the violent protests that rocked the city on Monday last week.

The deceased officer who was in uniform was carrying out duties of maintaining peace and order in the suburb.

Charles Thomas (56) and Bernard Sibanda (18) are alleged to have been part of the mob that stoned the police officer and have been slapped with a murder charge.

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Thomas was once charged with treason together with Paul Siwela and John Gazi for calling for the secession of the Matabeleland region from the rest of the country.

He was later acquitted.

Bulawayo Provincial Magistrate Tinashe Tashaya on Monday remanded the pair in custody to February 4 and advised them to apply for bail at the High Court.

They were both represented by Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi Law Chambers.

The court heard Thomas allegedly struck the deceased officer, Ekson Maune, repeatedly with a stone at the back of his head until blood gushed out and they left him for dead.

He succumbed to the injuries on Tuesday at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Prosecuting, Mufaro Mageza told the court that on Monday last week, Sibanda and Thomas were among a mob that stoned Maune.

He said upon sensing danger, Maune sought refuge at J84 in Njube but Sibanda struck him with a stone on the head and he fell to the ground.

“The pair was in amongst a mob on a public violence spree. Sibanda struck Maune with a stone on the head and he fell to the ground. The mob grabbed Maune and sat him on the ground before Thomas repeatedly struck him at the back of his head until blood gushed out,” said Mageza.

Police then launched a manhunt leading to the duo`s arrest.

Meanwhile, Josphat Ngulube (33) and six other assailants appeared before the same court facing a charge of malicious damage to property.

A crew consisting of Esther Mbewe (53), Fortune Masuku (29), Melusi Moyo (32), Marshal Mpofu (37), Lavenda Moyo (66), Thabisani Ngwenya (32) was remanded in custody to January 23 for trial.

Allegations against the seven, in the company of other protesters, went to Eva Bitu’s house (chairperson of ZANU-PF women’s League) in Sizinda on January 14 at around 7am.

Mageza said the crew accused Bitu of solely benefiting from tax payers’ money and pushed her Ford Ranger out of the yard where they set it alight.

“Accused persons went back into the yard where they had left a Nissan NP300 and a Toyota Vitz. They set alight the Nissan whose flames destroyed part of the Vitz. The Ford Ranger and Nissan NP300 were burnt beyond repair,” said Mageza.

Mageza said both cars are valued at a total of $95 000.

To date, 162 accused persons have appeared at the Tredgold Magistrates Court facing about 82 charges.

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