By Mashonaland East Correspondent
MARONDERA: Family and friends of the late Solomon Nyaruwa were at the weekend barred by the army and police from gathering to mourn him after he was shot dead by police in Dombotombo suburb last.
Narrating the family’s ordeal at a church service on Saturday morning, Nyaruwa’s younger brother, who asked not to be named, said his sibling was shot by an unidentified police officer on Tuesday morning while fleeing with other protestors.
The demonstration was part of a three-day national strike called by labour movement, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
Nyaruwa, the brother clarified, was not part of the demonstrators, but only got caught up in the clashes while walking into town to collect a debt.
According to the brother, Nyaruwa, 37, an informal trader, was, after being shot, later taken to Dombotombo police station where he was placed in a cell, unattended.
The police station was later stoned by the demonstrators and police officers fled, leaving Nyaruwa and other detained suspects in the cells.
Over 20 suspects are now in remand prison awaiting trial, while more have been arrested over the disturbances.
“Solomon was found dead in the cells some four hours later after he had been shot and was later taken to Marondera hospital mortuary,” his brother narrated during an emotional church service at the Methodist Church held on Saturday morning in the central business district.
He added; “However, when we gathered to mourn him at his home in Yellow City, armed police and army officers came and told us not hold his funeral wake.
“According to those who saw him in his last hours, his death was very painful as no one could assist him.”
The brother said the police told the family that Nyaruwa’s death was a result of being stampeded upon by fleeing demonstrators.
However, an autopsy conducted at Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare showed that his lungs had been raptured from gunshot wounds.
“We have since approached lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) on how best we can deal with Solomon’s death and they are assisting us,” the brother said.
Nyaruwa’s body was Saturday afternoon ferried to Muusha Village in Chimanimani, Manicaland province for burial expected Sunday.
Nyaruwa is survived by a wife and two children.
According to legal watchdog Veritas, people must not be killed, whatever the provocation.
“The right to life is sacrosanct and cannot be taken away, except by a court when it sentences a criminal to death,” the group says.
“Hence, if police officers and soldiers resort to the use of firearms, they must do so with extreme caution if they shoot someone and kill them, the killing will always be unlawful.”