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'Security agents worst human rights violators'

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2021 at 05:49hrs | Views
A REPORT by the Zimbabwe Peace Project  (ZPP) has exposed State security agents in the country as the worst violators of human rights in the month of February.

The report released on Saturday highlighted two incidents of brutality by uniformed forces and also stated that the incidents were downplayed by authorities.

One of the incidents reportedly  occurred in Chipinge where a civilian was killed by soldiers after they accused him of being a Renamo bandit from neighbouring Mozambique.

"On February 27 2021, two soldiers, who were part of the troops operating in Chipinge, near the Zimbabwean border with Mozambique, allegedly assaulted a civilian to death. The details of the killing were kept under wraps and even as the body was taken to Chako Police Station in the area, police kept a tight lid on what transpired, in what was clearly meant to protect the assailants," the ZPP report said.

"According to the information gathered by ZPP, the now-deceased allegedly got into a misunderstanding with one of the soldiers. The soldier then teamed up with a colleague accusing the now-deceased of being a member of the Renamo movement of Mozambique, took turns to assault him until he died."

The report said the other incident which was exposed by NewsDay, pertained to the assault of two Beitbridge-based police officers who sustained injuries after they were allegedly assaulted on February 1, by army commandos deployed in the area.

The two police officers are Detective Sergeant Albert Gonye and Detective Constable Kurai Marongere of the Criminal Investigations Department. They were assaulted by soldiers while pursuing suspects believed to be stealing from haulage trucks.

"These two incidents, although appearing to be isolated, speak to the pattern observed in February, where some soldiers deployed across the country committed various human rights abuses targeting mostly civilians," the ZPP added.

"The incidents also show the impunity with which the abuses were carried out as the perpetrators were not held to account and in both cases, the authorities denied that the incidents happened," it said.

The ZPP attributed the violence on citizens by members of the uniformed forces to the lengthy lockdown period where the officers harassed citizens as they solicited for bribes.

"For the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the majority of violations occurred during the enforcement of lockdown measures, which the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) extended to the end of the month.

"Since people were required to have exemption letters in order to travel, and were supposed to wear masks, police officers took advantage of the fines, which were raised to as high as $5 000 of a level one offence, to abuse citizens caught on the wrong side of the law."

ZPP last month recorded 221 human rights violations, 83 of which were harassment and intimidation of citizens, mostly by the police deployed to enforce the lockdown.

ZPP said there were two killings, two attempted murders, one abduction, 21 cases of unlawful detention and 35 others of assault, most of which were attributed to State security agents.

Source - newsday