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Police sued for lockdown brutality

Three men who sustained injuries after being allegedly assaulted by police officers enforcing the nationwide lockdown have written to the Commissioner-General of Police, Godwin Matanga, indicating their intention to sue the law enforcement agency.

Two women from Cowdray Park suburb in Bulawayo are currently embroiled in a legal battle with the police after they were allegedly brutally assaulted by officers on patrol on April 16.

Weston Chadomba and Sethukani Ncube both from Bulawayo suffered a broken arm and hearing problems, respectively, while Trymore Nhari from Gweru sustained a dislocated shoulder as a result of the alleged beatings.

Nhari and Chadomba are each claiming ZWL$300 000 while Ncube is demanding ZWL$250 000.

In letters written by their lawyers Jabulani Mhlanga and Nosimilo Chanayiwa from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) dated May 11, the trio cited they are intention to sue the individual officers concerned, the commissioner general Matanga, the Home Affairs and Defence ministers and the commander of the national army in terms of the State Liabilities Act.

Mhlanga in one of the letters noted that his client, Chadomba was on his way home when he came across a police officer and soldier who were manning a truck that was selling subsidised mealie-meal in Njube.

He said a misunderstanding ensued when he wanted to proceed as the truck was blocking the road.

“The police officer switched off the engine of his vehicle, removed his vehicle keys from the ignition, dragged him out of his vehicle and started to assault him with open hands all over his body,” Mhlanga noted.

“The soldier joined in and assaulted him using the butt of his gun. As a result, our client suffered serious injuries all over his body and his ears were affected and he is currently having hearing problems.”

Mhlanga added that upon realising the impact of their actions and the extent of the injuries sustained by Chadomba and in a bid to cover up for their actions, they dragged him to Njube Police Station where he was jointly charged with two other persons and made to pay a ZWL$500 fine before seeking medical attention at Mpilo Hospital.

In the case of Ncube, Mhlanga stated that he was assaulted on April 25 by eight uniformed police officers with batons and booted feet all over his body resulting in him dislocating his shoulder.

“They dragged Ncube to Magwegwe Police Station where he was detained overnight before being released the following day after depositing a ZWL$500 fine for failing to comply with lockdown regulation,” said Mhlanga.

Chanayiwa, who is representing Nhari, said he was assaulted by police officers in Gweru CBD resulting in him suffering a broken left arm.

“Immediately thereafter, our client made a police report at Gweru Central Police Station where he was insulted and threatened with physical violence by the officer in charge,” Chanayiwa said.

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