Matabeleland North Correspondent
Hwange: Two local women who were allegedly shot by police in the coal mining town are battling for their lives in hospital with one of them transferred to a private facility in Bulawayo due to the seriousness of her injuries.
According to sources, some police officers allegedly fired shots at a crowd that was reportedly stealing coke at a Hwange Colliery dumpsite on Saturday, resulting in the two women being shot.
Zulani Mudenda (46) was shot on the abdomen, leaving her intestines protruding and was Monday transferred to Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo for specialist care while Twabona Nyoni (25) who was shot on the chest is admitted at St Patricks’ Hospital in Hwange.
The women were reportedly at their homes in Madumabisa when the bullets hit them Saturday evening.
Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the shooting and said investigations were in progress.
He said the unnamed police officers involved in the shooting had a scuffle with a truck driver at the dumpsite. The scuffle triggered the shooting.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police assures the public that investigations are being conducted in connection with the unfortunate shooting incident which occurred in Hwange on the 22nd of August. The incident resulted in the injury of Zulani Mudenda (46), and Twabona Nyoni (25) after police had reacted to a report of theft at Hwange Colliery Main plant,” Nyathi said.
“Police will conduct comprehensive investigations with a view to establish what actually transpired between the truck driver Mcdonald Mpongweni and the police officer leading to the sad scuffle.”
He said the police have since impounded the truck as investigations continue.
Hwange residents who witnessed the unfortunate incident said police had rounded up a group of residents who were picking coke from the dumpsite near Madumabisa on Saturday around 6 pm when they allegedly fired shots.
Mudenda who was at her place of residence where she had just finished bathing at a public toilet, was shot by a stray bullet on the stomach, ripping it open while Nyathi, who is her neighbour, was hit on the chest.
Both were rushed to St Patricks’ Hospital as they bled profusely before Mudenda was transferred to Bulawayo.
The shooting incident comes a few days after the Hwange Local Board, indicated it was engaging security forces in an effort to help evict “illegal” brick moulders causing havoc in the coal mining town where they are haphazardly digging clay soil to make bricks.
The brick moulders mix clay soil with coal dust which they steal from Hwange Colliery mine sites.
Coke is also on-demand in Hwange where it is sold for between US$3 and US$5 per 50kg bag.
The local board said it had failed to disperse the illegal brick moulders as they resisted eviction by council security.