LATEST: Army sets the record straight on 'protesters raiding armouries and stealing guns' reports

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THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has corrected misrepresentations in some sections of the media that its armouries were raided by civilians during the recent violent demonstrations that rocked the nation.

The reports, and some politicians, wrongly interpreted a statement issued by Inspector-General, Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba at a Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) press conference this week.

Some opposition politicians, armed with the wrong information, even debated the issue in Parliament stating as a fact that civilians had stolen arms.

Yesterday, ZNA said in a statement that the misinterpretation and misunderstandings were a result of failure by some journalists to check the facts before publishing.

They also blamed it on media polarisation which caused some writers to deliberately twist the facts.

“At no point during the press conference did the Major-General make reference to ZDF armouries being run over or raided by civilians.

“Major-General Nyikayaramba made no reference to army establishments, worst of all armouries, being run over. This discourse will suit accurately in the narrative of those Zimbabweans who are bent on creating despondency and insecurity in the country,” read the statement.

ZNA indicated that the police stations and some officers were the ones that were attacked and the military came in with reinforcements.

“During the unrests in the country that occurred from January 14 to 16, the protesters targeted police stations and members of that force on whom they vented their anger. This resulted in the ZRP calling for assistance from the ZDF to quell the rowdy elements in the streets.

“It has been reported countless times that the protesters attacked and killed a police officer at ZRP Southlea Park in Harare. She was eventually stripped naked in broad daylight.

“Similarly, these protesters also overran several ZRP establishments, in the process, raiding and burning down sensitive points of that organisation. These included armouries and records offices in Chitungwiza, Southlea Park and Dombotombo in Marondera,” read the statement.

The incidents, the ZNA said, were the ones that were being referred to by the Major-General during the press conference.

“These are the places and occurrences that Major-General Nyikayaramba made reference to. One would struggle to ascertain where and when the same press conference made reference to the army and ZDF armouries being raided,” it reads.

The ZNA registered displeasure over the failure by MDC-Alliance Senator Tichinani Mavetere to understand the contents of the press statement to the extent of propagating falsehoods emanating from the misinterpretation.

“MDC Alliance Masvingo Senator Tichinani Mavetere in the August house prompted this debate and suggested that the army had lost weapons to the protesters.

“Given the above background, this kind of misinterpretation of events is very unfortunate coming from that high office of the land whose mandate is to represent the people.

“Senators and other public office bearers should understand and interpret better statements made by public officials otherwise they would fail to report accurately to their constituencies,” the army said.

The wrong interpretation, according to the ZNA, wrongly propagated the view that there were civilians who were armed thereby posing danger to others.

“This view is wrong, it would be ideal if the Government had to struggle to make the ordinary citizens understand the trajectory of the nation rather than having senators on the list of those to be educated as well,” read the statement.

— Herald


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