A 20-year-old Bulawayo woman who was reportedly assaulted by police officers based at Nkulumane police station for allegedly trying to escape from the holding cells claims she suffered a miscarriage due to the beatings.
Lynette Langa claims she was three months pregnant when she was arrested by police on Christmas Day on charges of stealing her boyfriend`s cellphone following an altercation between the two.
“It was on Christmas day in the afternoon, I was with my friends when we saw some police officers approaching us. We ran away because we were not putting on our face masks. We thought we would be arrested since it is a crime not to put on a mask. Apparently, they wanted to arrest me for stealing my boyfriend’s phone, however, I did not steal that phone,” Langa told a CITE news crew that visited her at home on Saturday.
She is currently out on a ZWL$ 5000 bail and is recovering from the assault.
Although in a previous interview her mother, Gcinani Donga, had claimed that she had sustained broken legs and arms, CITE observed that the other arm had fresh stitches while the other one which appeared swollen was being supported with a sling.
Her leg had a deep fresh cut.
After she was arrested, Langa claims she was taken to Nkuluman police station. The officers who had arrested her were furious that she had tried to evade arrest and they assaulted her.
“They came to the cell where I was being held and one officer started assaulting me using a plank. I knelt down trying to shield myself from the beatings but he went for my legs. The other officer tried to stop him from assaulting me but he continued. I was three months pregnant, I started bleeding and I had a miscarriage,” she said.
Langa said she then lost consciousness and the police officers tried to resuscitate her and when they failed, they allegedly dumped her in a bush between Nkulumane and Pumula thinking she was dead.
“When I gained consciousness, I realised that I was in a bush and I was wearing different clothes. I stayed in the bush for three days because I was in serious pain and I couldn’t even walk or crawl,” she narrated.
On the third day she finally managed to drag herself to the road where some passersby picked her up and took her to her home.
“My mother sent someone to the police station to notify them that I was now home, the police officers came and they left in a huff saying they were going to call for an ambulance,” she said.
Langa was later taken to Mpilo Central Hospital for treatment.
“When I was at Mpilo hospital, the police officers came and started harassing me, they even tore my hospital papers,” she claimed.
She added that the police officers were forcing her to admit to a charge of trying to escape from police custody.
“The other male police officer who was there threatened me that If I don’t confess that I am responsible for breaking the windows at the police station while escaping, he will tell the doctor to give me an injection, I do not know what type of an injection it was and he said if I want to live, I should confess to the crime,” said Langa.
After she was discharged from the hospital she was taken into custody and appeared in court the following day on charges of attempting to escape from police custody.