ZRP says student missing since December is on the run; family appeals for help amid claims 19-year-old was tortured

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter  

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has claimed that a high school student who has been missing since December last year is on the run.

St Mathias Tsonzo High School student Livingstone Sunhwa (19) has not been seen or heard from since he reportedly vanished on December 6 last year.

The boarding school is located at Watsomba, Manicaland province.

The teenager’s curious disappearance has been trending on social media under the hashtag #JusticeforLivingstone with many Zimbabweans baying for the school headmaster’s blood.

Livingstone was said to have gone missing after allegedly being tortured by the police and some of his teachers over his claimed involvement in a break-in at the school’s tuck-shop.

Narrating the events surrounding his disappearance on social media, Livingstone’s mother said she was not told about her son’s disappearance by school authorities and only learnt about the development from her daughter who also attends the same school.

She was however, particularly concerned about the alleged involvement of the school head, who was only identified as Sandura, in the saga.

The family has since appealed for help from members of the public saying they were not getting any assistance from both the police and school authorities.

According to some reports, after being tortured in front of other students, Livingstone was taken to Mutasa Police Station where he was detained without the knowledge of his parents.

When his mother got wind of the incident, she phoned the headmaster and requested that her son back to school so he could write his exams.

“The headmaster told me that he had taken him from the police around 5 pm and took him to his dormitory around 9pm but did not disclose that he was missing,” reads the social media post by Livingstone’s mother.

The headmaster was, according the family, the last person to see the teenager.

Manicaland police spokesperson, Inspector Nobert Muzondo acknowledged that Livingstone was missing.

He however, criticised the family “sensationalising the issue which is currently under investigation”.

“You should note that he did not go missing while in the hands of the police,” he said.

“From the police side, he is on the wanted list. He is on the run because he stole from the school.

“Groceries were indeed found stashed under his bed  so we are treating this case on two sides, that he is missing and that he is wanted.”

He added, “As the police we are investigating the matter and we still want him to be found but it is the father who has chosen to blow it out on social media … that person is not a minor, but a major.”

It has also been claimed that the mother fled the country with her son because of the pending criminal case.

However, in her social media post, the mother insisted that she visited the school on December12 to establish what happened to her son.

She said they would go out looking in the surrounding communities but was surprised that the headmaster always insisted that they search during the night.

“What troubled me is the fact that he (headmaster) did not want the company of other teachers when we went to look for my son and we would only do this at night,” she said.

She said she later went to the police station seeking to file a missing person report but was not assisted.

“They said it was impossible because my son was a suspect,” she said.