MDC councillors accused of police station invasion go underground

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By Mashonaland East Correspondent

Marondera: A total of 30 Marondera residents, including a local opposition councillor, are now in remand prison facing charges of invading and ransacking a police station during angry protests over a fuel price hike last week.

This comes amid reports that most MDC Marondera councillors and party activists in the tiny town have gone into hiding as police and State security agents are on their trail.

Last Tuesday, hundreds of angry locals attacked the Dombotombo police station as they vented their anger against fuel price increases by government.

One person, Solomon Nyaruwa, was shot dead by the police during the demonstration.

At least 21 suspects were brought to the Marondera magistrates’ courts last week while nine more residents, including Ward 2 councillor, Simbarashe Nyahuye, were brought to the same courts Monday.

This brought the number of those arrested so far to 30.

All have been remanded in custody and will be back in court this week facing public violence charges.

On Monday, David Dhumbura, a Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said while representing 18 of the suspects who are already on trial that two police officers, who are State witnesses, were trying to cover up evidence.

Dhumbura told court that his clients were arrested during a ruthless dragnet operation carried out by the army and people in civilian attire.

This was after the two police officers had given conflicting statements during cross examination from the defence on how the suspects were arrested.

The police officers claimed to have arrested some of the suspects who said in their defence that they were arrested by soldiers and some suspected state agents.

The trial of the 18 continued Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Robson Chere, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) secretary general and three other members of the union, were remanded in custody at the Goromonzi Magistrates’ Courts on charges of assaulting security guards at Arcturus Gold Mine last week.

They are expected back in court on Friday.

Chere is among a group of teachers from the militant teachers group that have led demands for US dollar wages from government.

The teachers have been arrested on several occasions.