By Idah Mhetu
GOVERNMENT has dismissed claims by human rights groups that 17 people died during the deadly violence which rocked the country last month.
The administration countered the reports Tuesday with its own figures of injuries suffered by police officers with Harare and Bulawayo topping the list.
According to the information ministry, one police officer was killed while 78 were injured.
“In the violent disturbances of the 14-16 January 2019, there was a concerted attack against police officers resulting in one deceased officer & 78 injured across the country as follow: Harare 56, Bulawayo 16, Manicaland 03, Mashonaland East 03,” the ministry said on Twitter.
“The violent gangs did commit a lot of atrocities against fellow citizens. They robbed them, assaulted them, stripped female police officers naked as well as burn crime dockets in police stations amongst a raft of other crimes.”
However, the opposition MDC party has rubbished the claims by the Zanu PF government.
“Fake news will not wake in this era, that may have worked for Gukurahundi, but technology will not allow such nonsense,” said MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda.
Human rights groups have claimed that at least 17 people died at the hands of the military in violent confrontations triggered by a 150 percent increase in the price of fuel announced by president Emmerson Mnangagwa last month.
Some 78 civilians were also reportedly treated for gunshot wounds, while over 1000 were arrested.
Hundreds have since been prosecuted in fast-tracked trials on charges of public violence and subverting a constitutional government.