Chaotic scenes as man threatens to commit suicide and burns blankets at police station

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A MAN who had been arrested for unlawful entry and was on the police wanted list since April yesterday set on fire four blankets at Hillside Police Station in Bulawayo in a suspected case of arson.

Police said the man who was violent torched the blankets while he was handcuffed. Police, however, managed to put out the fire before more blankets and material at the station could be burnt. Bulawayo police provincial spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident, adding that the suspect had been on the police wanted list for unlawful entry and had been on the run since April. He said the suspect (29) was violent when he was brought to the station by his uncle yesterday morning.

“He had been wanted for unlawful entry and his uncle brought him in this morning (yesterday) but in the process of detaining he became violent and it was felt he was dangerous and had to be restrained with handcuffs. The officers felt the suspect could not be locked within the cells but was allowed to remain within the perimeter fence of the cells,” said Insp Ncube.

He said the man was later referred to Ingutsheni Central Hospital as he was suspected to be mentally ill. He said they believed he defaulted on taking his medication for mental illness and that could be the reason why his relatives handed him over to the police.

“His relatives confirmed he is a mental patient and we felt it proper to take him to Ingutsheni,” said Insp Ncube.

A source at the station said the suspect had threatened to commit suicide before burning the blankets. When a Sunday News crew arrived at Hillside Police Station the suspect was in the charge office after being restrained and went into an incomprehensible monologue claiming it was the police who wanted to burn him inside the cell. The crew also observed several blankets lying inside the perimeter fence of the cells.

— Sunday News


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