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US$720,000 heist suspect shot dead in Zimbabwe police custody

by Staff reporter
08 Apr 2024 at 11:21hrs | Views
A suspect in the robbery of a financial services firm in Harare on February 25 has been killed in police custody, the latest victim of suspicious post-arrest killings.

Over US$720,000 was stolen in the heist at Quest Financial Services in Belgravia, and more than half-a-dozen suspects have been arrested including private security guards and police officers who helped themselves to some of the recovered cash.

Police now confirm that one of the suspects, Blessing Sumbani Sithole, 49, was shot dead on April 4 after he was taken for "indications" on the banks of Manyame River where he allegedly told officers he had hidden a gun.

Sithole had been arrested on the same day in Chiredzi and was detained at Harare Central Police Station.

National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said Sithole had tried to shoot at police officers – despite the fact that he was handcuffed.

"The suspect led detectives to Manyame River in Southlea Park where he claimed to have hidden a 7.65mm CZ pistol which was stolen at Quest Financial Services during the heist. Upon arrival at the scene, the suspect picked a pistol from a shrub and cocked it before aiming at detectives who were escorting him. Subsequently, the suspect was shot on the back and was rushed to Sally Mugabe Hospital where he died upon admission," Nyathi said.

Sithole's death will fuel demands for parliament to expedite the selection of commissioners to sit on the Independent Complaints Commission whose job is to investigate rights abuses by members of the security services.

Parliament has shortlisted 35 candidates to sit on the panel. Interviews were conducted on April 4 and names of the final nominees will be sent to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for appointment.

Prisoner rights activists say dozens of suspects have been killed in police custody after being taken for "indications" at crime scenes. In all cases, police said officers were at risk or that the suspects were attempting to escape.

Nyathi, in a statement on Sunday, maintained that "police fully subscribe to human rights tenets."

"Suspects involved in criminal acts are implored to duly comply with police orders and avoid clashes or confrontation with arresting details," he said.

Source - zimlive
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