Harare ‑ A ban on minibus taxis in Harare’s central business district ended tragically when Zimbabwe Republic Police officers opened fire on pedestrians on Thursday evening, killing two people on the spot.
A third person succumbed to their injuries inside the Harare Central Police Station. The incident happened at Seke Road Flyover Bridge.
A witness told African News Agency (ANA) that at around 6 pm, a police officer tried to apprehend a commuter omnibus driver who was resisting arrest.
“When the commuter omnibus driver resisted arrest, the officer drew out a pistol to fire a warning shot,” the witness said.
“The shot went astray, hitting an elderly man who was walking along the pavement.”
The man was still covered by cardboard boxes at around 10 pm, hours after the incident took place.
The same police officer reportedly fired another shot, which hit a roasted maize vendor, who was heavily pregnant.
She was taken to Harare Central Police Station in a commuter omnibus, where she reportedly died.
Another man who was standing far away was said to have been shot in the leg and also ferried to hospital by an ambulance.
The fourth victim was said to have been shot in the head.
The incident sparked public outrage and members of the public stormed the police station demanding the arrest of the police officer.
Enraged members of the public went belligerent and besieged the police station, stoning glass panes and torching three cars in protest.
“Every cop in uniform was thoroughly bashed until they started firing teargas canisters into the protesters,” another witness said
The incident took place barely a few hours after local government, public works and national works minister July Moyo reversed Harare City Council’s decision to ban kombis in town in a move codenamed Operation Restore Order.
The move saw commuters walking on foot, some for more than 5km, to get to the central business district.
Police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba did not respond to questions sent to her at the time of publishing. African News Agency/ANA