A police officer allegedly fired teargas at a group of artisanal miners and villagers at Ntunjambila business centre in Matopo over a love triangle dispute, CITE has learnt.
The incident occurred Sunday around 6PM where opportunists took advantage of the chaos to loot goods and supplies from some of the shops.
Sources who spoke to CITE on condition of anonymity said a police officer, stationed at the base in Ntunjambila had an altercation with one artisanal miner, popularly known as amakorokoza, over a certain girl in the area who was allegedly dating both of them.
“The police officer (name supplied) found out that his girlfriend was also in a relationship with one of the amakorokozas who were at the business centre. The police officer then approached the guy and an argument broke out, which quickly turned into a fist fight,” narrated on of the witnesses.
“On seeing the commotion, other police officers from the base, came to the aid of their colleague. It was during the scuffle that one of the police officers threw a teargas cannister at the locals who had flocked to see the action. The police then fled the scene after they realised the severity of what had been done and sought refuge at Matopo Police station.”
Sources said businesspeople at the centre were also forced to close their businesses early, as overzealous individuals took advantage of the chaos to loot goods.
“There was chaos, workers serving in the shops had to flee because of the teargas, others couldn’t even get the chance to lock up first. Some people then took advantage and looted supplies from these shops. Businesses had to close early because of these developments,” said one of the sources.
When contacted for comment, Matabeleland South Provincial Police Spokesperson, Inspector Loveness Mangena, referred queries to National Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, who could not comment on the issue citing that “he was out of office.”