Police strike again, mercilessly bash 20-year-old woman, break her arms & legs & dump her in bush

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A 20-year-old Bulawayo woman was last week hospitalised at Mpilo Central Hospital after sustaining broken arms and legs while being assaulted by Nkulumane police for allegedly trying to escape from the cells, CITE has learnt.

The accused woman has been identified as Lynette Langa.

Narrating the ordeal to CITE, her mother, Gcinani Donga said her daughter was arrested on Christmas day for allegedly stealing her boyfriend’s phone following an altercation between the two.

“So while she was in Nkulumane police station cells, she tried to escape through the ceiling which had been opened by another arrested person who escaped through it sometime,” said Donga.

“The police looked for her and found her in the ceiling and threw her to the floor. When I went to the station to see her, they told me she had escaped and they did not know how.”

Donga said the police then told her they had removed Langa who looked asthmatic from the cells and put her in a corridor from which they said she disappeared.

“I only saw my daughter on Tuesday morning when I was opening the gate,” Donga told CITE.

She said her daughter told her that the three police officers took her to a dark cell and beat her from there using a plank until she became unconscious.

“She says she only saw herself in the bush the following morning not aware of what transpired, because even if I ask her the falling incidents narrated to me by the police officer, she doesn’t remember at all”

“She was smelling bad and I got shocked and disturbed. I went to Nkulumane Police Station to inform the police since they had said I should alert them when she gets home. The first group of officers that came to see her, went back to the station and told me they were scared to take her back.”

Donga went on to say the second group also said the issue was beyond them while the third group called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

“When the ambulance came, the police had left, so I decided to just take my daughter to Mpilo Hospital and when I got there nurses refused to attend to her without the police report, so I went to Mzilikazi Police Station to get one,” she said.

“The police only showed up at Mpilo Hospital at around 1pm and handcuffed her while she uncontrollably wailed in pain until the nurse who was attending to her complained. That was when they stopped whatever they were doing and started talking to us.”

Donga said her daughter was Thursday discharged from hospital and taken back to police cells.

Contacted for a comment, Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Ncube said he had not yet received that report.

This comes after 2 women from Bulawayo had to seek medical treatment after allegedly being brutally assaulted for hours with batons on their backs, hips and legs by police officers who accused them of violating the ongoing national lockdown in last year.

The officers allegedly detained the women overnight at Cowdray Park police base after refusing to let them pay fines.

The siblings, names withheld, were arrested on April 16 at a supermarket in the suburb where they had gone to buy food for their children.

Pictures of the battered and bruised women went viral on social media. Under the lockdown imposed by Government to contain the spread of the deadly Covid-19, only essential service staff and people seeking vital services like medication or buying food are allowed outdoors.

The women alleged three cops picked them out from a queue at the supermarket and cuffed their hands behind their backs.

The officers allegedly force-marched the victims through a bush to Cowdray Park Police Base, making frequent stops along the way to beat them with the batons.

The siblings alleged two male police officers would force them to sit down before assaulting them with batons while hurling insults at them.

The women alleged three cops picked them out from a queue at the supermarket and cuffed their hands behind their backs.

The women’s ordeal continued at the police base where the officers allegedly made them sit behind a parked vehicle and took turns to assault them with batons.

“They told us they would teach us a lesson. They said they wanted to show us that they had better women than us at their homes. They said our being yellow boned (light skinned) did not exempt us from the stay at home order,” said one of the sisters with tears trickling down her cheeks.

“We asked them why they were beating us and they said we were rude.”

The sisters said the police refused to let their relatives pay fines for them and kept them at the base overnight. They said their relatives wanted to take them to hospital because their butt0cks and hips were swollen.

“The pain was excruciating yet they refused to let us seek medical attention. We were eventually fined $200 each the following day in the afternoon. That is when relatives took us to Mpilo (Central Hospital) for treatment,” said one of the victims.

Asst Commissioner Nyathi condemned the heavy-handed approach to law enforcement by the police officers.

“We have six suspects who are appearing in court tomorrow. That is what we can say for now,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

Pressed to confirm if all the suspects are police officers he said: “We will release more information soon but what we can assure the public is that the case has been investigated and is being well handled. Nothing has been swept under the carpet. That is why we are taking the case to court.”

Asst Comm Nyathi said police officers should be professional while executing their duties.

“They should not get carried away when they perform their duties. They should stick to the mandate which the police have in terms of the constitution of the country, in terms of the deployment which would have been done by their commanders. So, anyone who goes outside the deployment order and does their own things will face the full the wrath of the law,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) yesterday said they assisted the victims to make a formal report.

NPRC investigators led by Commissioner Leslie Ncube who is in charge of the three Matabeleland provinces said they had to intervene because any form of violence is not tolerated and is a threat to peace in society.

Comm Ncube said he was shocked by the level of abuse the women were subjected to.

“They were brutally attacked by male police officers who beat them on the thighs and butt0cks while insulting them. We are told that the officers were insulting them using der0gatory language which also fuels ethnical hatred. The victims told us that the officers were telling them that there is nothing special with their hips as they also have wives with even bigger hips. So clearly the police officers became too personal instead of executing their police duties.”

“The police are supposed to be the custodians of law and are supposed to protect the lives of the vulnerable in our society. We condemn the behaviour of the said police officers. The victims were allegedly insulted. Such actions are not expected from the police officers especially in an independent Zimbabwe,” said Comm Ncube.

He said the commission will assist the victims to get trauma counselling.

— CITE/Chronicle


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