2019 army victims besiege Muchinguri, Valerio Sibanda with suits

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By Mary Taruvinga

LAWSUITS against Defence Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri continue to mount as more victims of the January 2019 army assaults and shootings continue to lodge complaints with the High Court.

About 13 victims approached the High Court last week demanding damages ranging between $200 000 and $400 000 after they were allegedly abused by Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldiers during and after the protests against the government in January last year.

More people filed lawsuits against the minister and also Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe since last year, but the cases are yet to be heard.

Last week, one Amon Njoromori of Chinhoyi sued Muchinguri for damages saying he was assaulted by soldiers on January 22 for no apparent reason.

“The facts giving rise to this claim are that on January 22, 2019 at about 16:00 hrs and at Chinhoyi Town rank, I was in a commuter omnibus when I was pulled out by three ZNA officers armed with baton sticks and guns.

“I was indiscriminately assaulted across the body with booted feet by ZNA officers and I fell on my side,” said Njoromori, adding that he sustained injuries on his left arm, back and is still in pain.

He is demanding $300 000.

One Danny Joseph is also claiming the same amount from the minister.

He said he was abducted by ZNA officers on December 22 while in Harare CBD.

Joseph said he was apprehended together with other civilians and over 80 soldiers terrorised them at a place in Harare’s Eastlea suburb.

He said he was forced to lie face down and was assaulted all over his body before the soldiers robbed him of his $15.

“He suffered not only physical harm but also mental anguish, anxiety, severe trauma, grievous harm to his dignity and bodily integrity as a result of the degrading treatment by the officers,” wrote the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum whose lawyers are representing him.

Other victims include David Mazibiye, Kudakwashe Muteweye, Persuade Ngulube and others.

Defence Forces commander, Philip Valerio Sibanda was also cited as a respondent in separate court applications.

The cases are still pending.