2 bystanders killed by Police sparking violence in Harare

A police officer allegedly shot and killed an innocent bystander after the police had been engaging in running battles with kombi drivers. Violence broke out in retaliation in the Harare central business district late yesterday evening (22nd of Feb 2018)

The violence outbreak started when the police fired at a kombi that was near the Seke Road flyover. It was reported that one person had died and another was seriously injured.

It is still not obvious what triggered the battle between the ZRP and kombis, which lead to one of the officers drawing his weapon and shooting at least two bystanders. Members of the public in the area then besieged the Harare Central Police Charge Office, where they wanted to lay a charge against the officer responsible for the shooting.

the public started throwing rocks at the police and police vehicles parked outside the police station. The result was that a car was burnt and another vehicle also caught on fire. The police response was to fire teargas to disperse the angry crowd.

Roads leading to the charge office were later blocked to the public.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), admitted it was investigating deadly clashes between the force and the public.

The police confirmed only two people had been killed in the altercation, and not three people as earlier reported on the Thursday night clashes.

General Godwin Matanga (Police Commissioner) conveyed condolences to the families of the deceased and described the incident as “regrettable”.

“The ZRP is seized with the matter and I have since directed a team of expert investigators to extensively establish the cause, what transpired and who was responsible,” said the Police Commissioner. Mr Matanga assured the Zimbabwean public that “action will be taken and investigators will leave no stone un-turned”.

Violence of whatever form is not tolerated, he declared.

The Police Commissioner said police officers opened fired at pedestrians, killing two on the spot and injuring four others after a commuter omnibus refused to comply with an order.

He said while police and other security services, including the Harare Municipality, were implementing an operation to decongest Harare city centre, the government has since issued a directive to halt the operation against the kombi drivers. However, members of the security services continued enforcing the ban, apparently unaware of the halt command.

This subsequently led to confrontation between kombi operators and the police resulting in the shooting incident. This kicked off public outrage as citizens demonstrated against the killing.

It has been reported that three cars were burnt and extensively damaged while 3 police officers were injured, according to Matanga. It gets worse as the police have appealed to members of the public to help identify the deceased, as they did not have identity particulars on them.