- Southern Africa
Zimbabwe: Military group attacks Police in arrest case
13 armed soldiers led by a senior lieutenant on Monday night stormed a police station to set free two of their arrested colleagues.
The two arrested were nabbed for common assault. A situation that angered the solders who claimed the police were undermining them.
The incident took place in Mutako, a remote district west of the capital- Harare.
Chief police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena this morning said investigations were underway. "The lieutenant was arrested Monday after he and a number of soldiers went to the police to try to forcibly have their colleagues who had been arrested released," he said.
Bvudzijena said the lieutenant would be charged with obstructing or attempting to defeat the course of justice. The lieutenant is likely to appear in court soon.
The 13 other soldiers were not arrested. According to the police they were “only following the orders of a senior officer”.
Such incidents are not new in the country. Zimbabwe soldiers are notorious for ganging up on civilian’s or police officers every time any of their colleagues are involved in quarrels in the suburbs.
In December 2008, groups of unarmed rogue soldiers beat up illegal foreign currency dealers and seized their money and mobile phones after failing to access cash from banks.
Armed anti-riot police joined the attack against the soldiers and used tear smoke and live ammunition to try and contain the mutineers. A few days later, more than 20 soldiers were arrested in connection with the disturbances.
Just last October, Afrik-news.com reported that seven soldiers — again led by a lieutenant — armed with assault rifles stormed a soccer pitch and shot a policeman accusing him of snatching their colleague’s girlfriend.
Of late heavily armed young solders now freely roam the streets on major towns in broad-day light. Most of them have in the recent past been court marshaled for disciplinary issues.