Thursday, 4 January 2018

EIGHT PEOPLE MAULED BY POLICE DOGS

EIGHT people were hospitalised at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo after they were allegedly mauled by police dogs over the weekend.

The eight victims, both men and boys, are said to have been bitten by police dogs in Mzilikazi and Entumbane suburbs where officers were patrolling on Saturday and Sunday.

The Chronicle yesterday could not ascertain what led to the police setting the dogs on civilians leaving them wounded.

Mpilo Central Hospital Clinical Director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya confirmed the incident and said four of the victims were discharged from the hospital yesterday while the rest were discharged on Monday.

“There were eight males who were brought to the hospital on New Year’s Day after they claimed to have been bitten by police dogs. Four of them were treated and discharged on the same day while the other four were admitted and discharged yesterday,” he said.

Dr Ngwenya urged members of the public to refrain from behaviour that could get them into trouble with law enforcement agents while also calling on the police to use minimum force in dealing with some members of the public.

“These are cases that could have been avoided if members of the public restrained themselves. We also call on the police to use minimum force in dealing with members of the public. Dogs can be very dangerous with some of their bites affecting vital organs that can result in someone’s death,” he said.

Dr Ngwenya said already overburdened hospitals have to use the little medical resources at their disposal sparingly and it would be better if they are not channelled towards avoidable incidents.
A Bulawayo lawyer Mr Tanaka Muganyi said the police actions were tantamount to brutality.
“That is actually bad policing. If they had done something wrong, the police powers are limited to arrest and transmitting people for prosecution. What they did is tantamount to torture and we can’t have a police force that has a Service Charter which spells out their duties doing that,” said Mr Muganyi.

He said the conduct of the police officers should be condemned as it is not in line with their promises to be a reformed people centred police service.

“They should have mechanisms to supervise their subordinates. What it means is that they cannot be seen indicating left when they are turning right or blowing hot and cold at the same time. They have apologised to the nation and have assured Zimbabweans that they are going to be a people-oriented police force but now they let dogs loose to munch on ordinary people,” Mr Muganyi said.

Acting Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga recently condemned indiscipline in the police force saying it was caused by lack of supervision.

“The young police officers need our constant and regular guidance so that they do not stray and malign the good name and image of the police service,” he said. Chronicle

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