Gukurahundi survivor charged for cop murder

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

CHARLES Thomas, who claims to have survived the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities that killed 20 000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands, on Monday appeared before a Bulawayo court for allegedly fatally stoning a police officer during violent protests that rocked the country’s second largest city last week.

He was jointly charged with one Bernard Sibanda, also a Bulawayo resident.

Prosecutor Mufaro Mageza told the court that on Monday last week, Thomas and Sibanda ganged up with a mob who stoned Zimbabwe Republic Police officer, Ekson Maune, leaving him for dead.

Maune succumbed to the injuries on Tuesday at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he was admitted into the Intensive CARE Unit (ICU).

Mageza said the deceased, who was in police uniform, was carrying out his duties of maintaining peace and order in Njube suburb when he got attacked.

Bulawayo provincial Magistrate Tinashe Tashaya remanded the pair in custody.

Thomas was once arrested alongside exiled Paul Siwela in 2011 for allegedly distributing fliers calling on Zimbabweans to revolt against the government.

The two were charged with treason but were later acquitted.

The death incident on the junior police officer was among the three fatalities reported by government during the violent countrywide protests over a government hike on fuel prices.

Angry Zimbabweans took to the streets to register their anger over the development.

NGOs claim 12 people died in the hands of the military which was deployed to quell wild scenes of protests that also saw shops being looted.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has condemned the violence while also pledging to investigate reports of state brutality directed at citizens.