Three commuter omnibuses were burnt to shells in the Bulawayo central business district yesterday when police clashed with pirate commuter omnibuses, whom they accused of operating illegally, with witnesses claiming that the law enforcement agents caused the “unnecessary” damage.
The drama started when police chased after a commuter omnibus, which was then involved in an accident at the corner of Herbert Chitepo Street and Five Avenue.
Fungai Maphosa, a vendor who witnessed the skirmishes, said during the melee, police beat up anyone near the accident scene.
“That is when a mob of people intervened to rescue the kombi driver, and they assaulted the police officers in anger as to why they were beating up the driver instead of attending to the accident victims,” Maphosa said.
“The police officers ran away and returned some minutes later armed with teargas and they started throwing it into the kombis. During the melee, three kombis were burnt.”
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident, but declined to give details.
“Yes, we are still attending to the case, but you will have to talk to Assistant Commissioner (Paul) Nyathi too since police officers were injured and their vehicle was also damaged,” Ncube said.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairperson Ambrose Sibindi castigated the police for putting people’s lives at risk while ignoring serious robbery cases in the city. Newsday