Thursday, 12 March 2020

COPS GOES BERSERK


A SENIOR policeman went berserk and fired 15 rounds of live ammunition towards a mentally challenged man who was resisting arrest at Beitbridge Police Station. 

It is understood Chief Inspector Kenneth Mushongahande, the officer-in-charge of Beitbridge Urban Police, went on to use an undisclosed number of tear smoke canisters to apprehend the lone suspect who was running amok inside the charge office.

Surprisingly, the suspect braved the barrage of bullets meant to scare him to submission and the toxic gas, whose effect was felt some two kilometres away at Mashakada in Dulivhadzimo high-density suburb.

The officer commanding Beitbridge District, Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo confirmed the incident, but did not give details.

“I can confirm the shooting last night (Tuesday) at the station and there were no injuries at all. A suspect had become violent and police were managing him,” he said.

Nyongo refused to comment when asked whether the police had not used excessive force considering they were dealing with a single unarmed person, who all along had been in their custody.
A source at the police station said a man, known to be a builder, arrived in the charge office to seek assistance in claiming his payment from a client refusing to pay for services.

“He built a house for someone and asked for the police’s help allegedly because the client had become hostile,” the source said.

The man looked frustrated, having been referred to different government departments in vain.  He then approached the police as a last resort.

His state changed when another man putting on church robes entered the station and they began to exchange words and all hell broke loose.

The suspect became extremely violent and used a broom to ward off a police dog set on him and threatened to beat up everyone.

The police fled in all directions as the man charged and finally bolted out and sought refuge in a car park for accident damaged cars.

“That is when Mushongahande came with an FN rifle and started firing hoping to scare the man, who stood his ground and sat in a minibus from where he was forced out by tear smoke.

Dozens of policemen who reside at the station fled as the sound of machine gunfire rattled.

“It seemed like the police station was under attack and some visitors from Harare, who are here for some work, fled the station in their cars. They thought the station was under attack,” the source said.

“It was scary. People ran all over when shots were being fired.” Scores of Beitbridge residents swarmed the police out of curiosity after the firing had died down.

“The gunfire was uncomfortable on a Sunday, but we wanted to see what was happening,” one resident who lives near the police station said.

“We had also been affected by the tear smoke and wanted to establish what had happened.”

A security source said use of the gun and tear smoke was an overreaction, which was unnecessarily alarming.

Mushongahande has reportedly previously used a firearm in his office, where he injured two subordinates soon after assumption of duty at Beitbridge Urban. Newsday

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