By Tonderai Saharo
A SOLDIER running a bottle store in Chivi district, Masvingo, went berserk and assaulted four police officers who tried to get him to close the facility in line with the ongoing lockdown restrictions.
Nicolus Chinoza, a Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) sergeant based at Inkomo Barracks outside Harare has since appeared before a Chivi magistrate facing assault and resisting lawful arrest charges.
Magistrate Rutendo Jakati remanded Chinoza out of custody to 30 July for trial.
Prosecutor Mildred Maenzanise told the court that on 10 July in the evening, police constables only identified as Chidzura, Denya, Velapi, and Muguti were on patrol at Mhandamabwe Business Centre.
They noticed that Chinoza’s bottle store was still operating, in contravention with Covid-19 restrictions which imposed a curfew between 18:30 to 06:00 hours the next morning.
Bottle stores and most businesses are required to close at 15:00 hours.
The court heard the police officers proceeded to the bottle store and found Chinoza in the company of his wife and other patrons.
Chidzura then alerted the military man he was under arrest for breaching the Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions, but Chinoza could hear none of it and became violent.
“The accused was interviewed by Constable Chidzura why his bottle store was still open and operational after the prescribed business hours to which Chinoza stated that he was a serving member of the ZNA and he can operate at any given time,” the court heard.
Magistrate Jakati was told Chinoza then charged towards Chidzura and pushed him on the floor ordering him to vacate his premises.
On noticing that their colleague was under attack, the other three police officers intervened but Chinoza became more violent and used chairs to assault the cops.
After some battle between the police officers and the army sergeant, the cops later managed to arrest him before detaining him at Mashava Police Station, leading to his court appearance.