‘Mnangagwa’s DRC runner’ missing; wife fears another Dzamara scenario

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By Staff Reporter

A RETIRED top Zimbabwean army official Lieutenant Colonel Elliot Piki has mysteriously gone missing after reportedly being abducted hours before giving evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 killings.

Piki was reportedly “abducted” by unknown assailants ,forcing his wife Sibongile Sarukato to approach the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to petition the High Court with a to force government to investigate his whereabouts.

In a statement the ZLHR said the wife reported that Piki disappeared on Sunday, 25 November 2018 at around 16:30 hrs at his Waterfalls home.

“Piki’s wife Sibongile Sarukato on Monday 26 November 2018 filed an urgent habeas corpus application on behalf of her husband Retired Lieutenant Colonel Elliot Piki seeking an order compelling the State to do all things necessary to determine his whereabouts including advertising on all State-run print and broadcast media,” ZLHR said.

Sarukato, is represented by Jeremiah Bamu of Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, who are members of ZLHR.

Her application cites Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri, State Security Minister Owen Mudha Ncube, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation Isaac Moyo as respondents.

“Sarukato wants the High Court to order the setting up of a team of investigators, to work closely and in conjunction with lawyers appointed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to search for Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki at all places within Zimbabwe as may be reasonably practical, and report on such search to the Registrar of the High Court, on every alternate Friday,” said ZLHR

“She also wants the respondents to be ordered to inquire from, and where necessary obtain any such information as may be necessary for the investigations from mobile service operators to try and locate Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki through tracing the mobile numbers that were on his person at the time of his abduction as may be provided by his family.

“Sarukato said the manner in which her husband was taken betrays sinister motives as he was taken in similar style and fashion to pro-democracy campaigner Itai Dzamara, who still remains missing since 9 March 2015.”

Dzamara has not been seen or heard from nearly four years on.

Sarukato, according to the ZHLR, was kidnapped by assailants wearing “face masks” and bundled into an unregistered vehicle.

“During the tussling with the unidentified men as they abducted him, Sarukato stated that one of the abductors tersely said to him in vernacular; ‘we warned you not to work on the document you are working on, you want to protect Chamisa, who is he to you?’”

In the ensuing tussle Sarukato claims one of the assailants fired shots in the air before the gun was pressed against her husband.

According to the wife, a report was filed with ZRP under RRB 3784040. 

Piki was a leading military figure in Zimbabwe’s campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) code-named Operation Sovereign Legitimacy to prop-up the late Laurent Kabila as rebels closed in.

Kabila was later assassinated by one of his bodyguards but President Emmerson Mnangagwa, then heavily linked to the army, led the plunder of that country’s diamonds according to a UN report with Piki one of his runners alongside current Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo.