Police warn politicians over Highlanders, Dynamos match hooliganism

Violence broke out on Sunday at Barbourfields Stadium during a football match between Dynamos and Highlanders. Eight people, including four police officers, were hurt, and three police cars were destroyed.
Since then, police have denounced any acts of public violence and stated that they are looking into the matter in order to apprehend the hooligans responsible.

Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, a spokesperson for the national police, said in a statement that they were also troubled by certain politicians who attempted to use the high-profile football match to encourage violence before, during and after the play.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police condemns all forms of public violence at soccer matches in the country and will ensure that arrests are effected on hooligans without fear or favour. The Police assures the public that comprehensive investigations are underway in connection with the violence which erupted during the Premier Soccer League match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium on September 10, 2023.

Read Also: CCC congratulates Highlanders fans for causing violence at Barboufields Stadium.

“Preliminary investigations have established that four police officers and four members of the public were injured during the pitch invasion and subsequent violence which erupted inside the stadium. Three police vehicles were stoned and damaged by the soccer hooligans,” he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said the police acted professionally to contain the situation and did not throw any tear smoke canisters in the stadium to avoid stampede and fatalities.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police acted professionally as police officers initially deployed at Barbourfields Stadium tried to contain the situation through cooperation of marshals and did not throw tear smoke within the stadium. This strategy assisted in avoiding stampedes, fatalities or injuries to the fans from the two opposing teams.

“Police managed to evacuate the soccer players, match officials and VVIPS from the stadium and sought reinforcement to assist in containing the situation. Tear smoke was only used outside the stadium to disperse the violent crowd who openly threw stones and other objects at police officers,” he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi added, “On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Republic Police is disturbed by some politicians who tried to take advantage of the high profile soccer match to incite violence before, during and after the soccer match. Some of the political undertones have been clearly seen on social media platforms. The Police warn such political activists that they risk being arrested for inciting violence at soccer matches.”

Meanwhile, police are appealing for information which can assist in accounting for some of the suspects who instigated or participated in the violence at Barbourfields Stadium.

Asst Comm Nyathi said the public should feel free to give information through the National Complaints Desk on (0242) 703631 or WhatsApp on 0712 800 197.

“The Police reiterates that the law will take its course on hooligans at soccer matches as no stone will be left unturned to account for the suspects involved in the Barbourfields Stadium violence,” he said.

Last week, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga warned all unruly elements who engage in activities that border on criminality and acts that are either overtly or covertly calculated to throw this country into anarchy that they will be dealt with decisively.

His sentiments came after police had launched investigations into some social media messages being posted by individuals and groups agitating for unlawful activities and disturbances in the country

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