A CRACKDOWN on illegal vendors by Masvingo's municipal police ended tragically on Monday after a four-month-old baby was run over by a council vehicle.
Angry residents vented their fury on council workers who had to flee for dear life.
They also torched the council vehicle reducing it to a shell. A commuter omnibus which was parked nearby was also caught up in the fracas as it was also burnt.
Witnesses said the baby was crushed in the melee after his mother who was selling some wares fled from the police.
"Vendors grabbed a few wares and ran from municipal officers. The baby's mother also did likewise and left the baby near her wares. The driver of the council vehicle decided to crush the perishable stuff and did not realise there was a baby close by and ran over the baby," said a witness.
Business was brought to a halt at the Masvingo main bus terminus as vendors took matters into their own hands.
Anti-riot police had to be brought in to disperse the protesters.
Masvingo Mayor, Hubert Fidze, said he was pained by the loss of life and apologised to residents.
He however, appealed to residents not to take the law into their own hands.
"What a black day for our city! I would like to apologise on behalf of council. We shall strive to work hard to prevent such tragedies. I however urge residents to calm down and not take the law into their own hands," said Fidze.