Soldier, Police Officer Arrested as Lockdown Assault Backfires

A SOLDIER and a police officer are undergoing trial after they were arrested and charged for assaulting a Bulawayo resident Weston Chandomba during the national lockdown period.

Obvious Nkomo aged 35 years, who is a soldier based at Induna Barracks and is employed as a corporal in the Zimbabwe National Army and Sergeant Dennis Maturi aged 45 years, who is employed by Zimbabwe Republic Police appeared before Magistrate Jaconiah Ncube at Western Commonage Court in Bulawayo on Friday 26 June 2020 to answer to charges of assault as defined in section 89(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors told Magistrate Ncube that Nkomo and Maturi assaulted the 33 year-old Chandomba 33, who is employed as a mechanic on 1 May 2020 in Bulawayo’s Njube high-density suburb by slapping him with open hands and a butt of a riffle intending to cause bodily harm.

Prosecutors said Nkomo and Maturi were on duty escorting a truck selling maize meal and conducting routine checks when they quarreled with Chandomba and accused him of causing or behaving in a disorderly manner before assaulting him.

After assaulting Chandomba, prosecutors said Nkomo and Maturi handcuffed him together with other persons and ordered them to sit down on the tarmac before taking them to Njube Police Station, where he was detained for several hours until he was released without any charges preferred against him.

Prosecutors told Magistrate Ncube that Chandomba sustained a damaged right ear from the assault by Nkomo and Maturi.

Nkomo and Maturi are the first publicly known security services personnel to be arraigned before the courts charged with violating citizens’ rights during the national lockdown period.

Several people across the country have endured harassment, assault and torture at the hands of soldiers and police officers during the national lockdown period which was declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus, which has affected more than 500 people in Zimbabwe.

In April, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), had to approach the High Court to secure court orders to stop soldiers and police officers from harassing, assaulting and violating citizens’ rights while enforcing regulations during the national lockdown period.

Already, several people across the country represented by ZLHR are suing soldiers and police officers for violating their fundamental rights during the ongoing national lockdown period.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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