- Southern Africa
- Crime - Human rights
Zimbabwe: Several tortured soldiers die after UN expert is refused entry
12 members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) are reported dead after allegedly tortured on accusation of stealing 20 AK 47 rifles at Pomona Barracks.
A huge quantity of weapons went missing at Pomona Barracks in Harare two weeks ago and police staged a pre-dawn raid at one of the Movement of Democratic Change residency in search of the weapons. Nothing was recovered there and police say they are still investigating.
But in a sudden turn of events late last week, more than 200 soldiers at the Pomona Barracks where arrested by the army’s military intelligence, the military police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Sources at the barrack say the army base was taken over by the Presidential Guard. “It was chaotic, the Presidential Guard is now in command at the barrack” said the source.
It is understood that soldiers who where on leave during the take over have been ordered to return. "Females based at the Barracks have been detained at the notorious Chikurubi Maximum prison while their male counterparts are at Harare Central Remand Prison”
It is said that the fatal torture sessions were conducted by foreigners. "The detained soldiers were taken to Two Brigade in batches for sessions of torture but we have received information that the torture is being done by either Angolans or Congolese, nobody has been able to verify that," a soldier said.
The soldier’s who are feared dead are Sungiso Musa, Darlington Kanyingwe, Charles Muzondo, Dzingai Chibutwaka, Stanley Mvindwa, Chamunorwa Chinyere, Maxwell Samudzi, Cosmore Mangenda, Misheck Kangwa, Callistus Mutero, David Hamandishe and Farai Chitsiko.
By Sunday evening the bodies of the murdered soldiers were at One Commando Regiment, along Airport Road which stores bodies of soldiers who die in military hospitals. Despite the deaths, the missing weapons have still not been found.
Last week, United Nations torture expert Manfred Nowak was deported from Harare. His mission was to probe torture and the treatment of prisoners.
The police have also mounted road-blocks with the assistance of the military police on major roads leading into Harare where motorists are being heavily searched.