TWO soldiers allegedly opened fire on two villagers in Chisuma near Victoria Falls killing both on the spot raising the ire of members of the public who accused the security members of harassing the community.
The incident happened at Chisuma Business Centre where the soldiers who were deployed in the area for Covid-19 lockdown operation had been drinking beer with members of the public.
Villagers have said the two soldiers who are yet to be identified were drunk when they allegedly started beating people before spraying bullets on the two villagers.
One of the two deceased was shot several times and died instantly while the other was shot once and died moments later.
Villagers who witnessed the incident said the two soldiers picked a fight with members of the public at Langton Bar and retreated to their base at Chisuma Primary School where they came back armed with service rifles before opening fire on the now deceased.
The villagers alleged that the soldiers had been terrorizing the community by harassing members of the public and young girls in the area.
Councillor for the area Givemeagain Moyo in a statement said the deceased are Morgen ‘Zhuzha’ Sibanda and Dumisani ‘Dudu’ Mpofu both of Chisuma.
“This is to announce that we have lost two villagers who were shot dead by soldiers at Chisuma shops.
Their bodies have been taken to Victoria Falls Hospital mortuary,” said Clr Moyo.
Witnesses said the soldiers suddenly opened fire on their return and hit Mpofu on the lower back before firing several shots on Sibanda.
Police, however, have said the soldiers were on an authorised patrol against smuggling along Zambezi River and acted in self-defence as the now-deceased attempted to disarm them.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating the circumstances in which two suspects tried to disarm members of the security services who were on anti-smuggling deployments in Victoria Falls on 30 September 2020 resulting in a shooting incident and deaths of two suspects.
“As the security services team was at Chisuma Business Centre, at 7:30 pm monitoring anti-smuggling activities and dispersing people who had gathered in contravention of Covid-19 regulations, one of the suspects assaulted a security service member and then tried to disarm him resulting in the scuffle.
“The other suspect joined in and ignored warning given by security services members. The security services strongly warn members of the public against trying to disarm deployed personnel especially in the anti-smuggling operation and the public is urged to cooperate with security services and observe Covid-19 regulations at all times,” said Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
The incident comes a few weeks after soldiers took turns to whip 14 men after forcing them to lie face down at Cross Dete.
Three soldiers who were patrol in Dete approached a vehicle the 14 who are all employed by a mining company in Gweru were travelling in and accused them of possessing machetes.
They assaulted them on the spot before taking them to Dete police base where they further whipped them and later released them.
Three of the men reported a case of assault to the police while the rest did not.