By Tinashe Mungazi
A Hwange woman had her stomach ripped open while another what hit in the chest by stray bullets reportedly fired by police officers who were dispersing illegal coke traders in Madumabisa village on Saturday evening.
The two women are currently admitted to St Patrick`s Hospital where they are reportedly in a critical condition.
According to an eyewitness, Zulani Mudenda was shot in the abdomen while her neighbour, Twabona Nyathi was hit in the chest as they made their home from taking a bath at a communal bath facility.
The incident which happened at around 6 pm left residents in a state of shock.
The police officers are believed to have raided a group of residents who were picking up some coke at a dumpsite.
“Two police officers opened fire during a raid on illegal coke traders resulting in stray bullets injuring two women who were coming from taking a bath at A section. One of the women was hit in the stomach ripping it open while the other was shot in the chest. The whole incident took everyone by surprise and residents are still in shock as to how the officers discharged firearms in a populated area,” said a resident who refused to be named.
The coke is a sought after product on the black market.
“We are not sure as to what prompted the police to react like that but some say they wanted to disperse some residents who had gathered at a mine dumpsite in search of coke which they sell to truck drivers or brick moulders. A 50kg sack of coke is selling for US$3 at the truck stop and the number of people engaged in the illegal practice has increased because of Covid. However, whatever the case the officers acted negligently by discharging firearms in a residential area where there are people,” said one resident.
Greater Hwange Residents Trust called for thorough investigation into the conduct of the police officers arguing that the incident had left residents shell-shocked.
“Greater Hwange Residents Trust is saddened by the shooting of the two ladies and we call for a proper and comprehensive investigation on the matter. There should be no sacred cows,” said Fidelis Chima, the organisation’s coordinator.
National Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner, Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident adding that investigations are underway.