A KHAMI MAXIMUM PRISON inmate serving a 24-year jail term was last Thursday brought to court charged with three counts of attempting to kill three police officers investigating a robbery in which five people were robbed in Plumtree sometime in August 2002.
Isaac Muunganirwa pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder and one count of illegal possession of a firearm when he appeared before Bulawayo Regional Court magistrate Mark Dzira.
The magistrate remanded Muunganirwa, who has eight years left of his current sentence, in custody to October 6 for continuation of trial.
Prosecutor Tinashe Dzipe told the court that on August 25 2002 Muunganirwa was somewhere in the Nxele area of Plumtree when he was approached by three police officers, Tyavanai Madungwe from the Fairbridge Support Unit Camp, Makamba Murambiwa of Plumtree Base and Justine Sibanda from the Support Unit section.
They wanted to search him as they were investigating five cases of robbery which had occurred in Plumtree.
It was alleged that Muunganirwa fled and the police pursued him. He fired some shots at them using a pistol.
He was later shot on the thigh leading to his arrest and recovery of the firearm. Police recovered his alleged spent cartridge at the scene of the shooting.
However, Muunganirwa denied firing any shot and claimed that the police officers wanted to take his gold and they were the ones who fired shots at him.
In his statement, Madungwe indicated that on August 25 2002 at 9am, he was driving a police vehicle accompanied by a Sergeant Murambiwa and three other constables going to attend to the scene where five people had been robbed the previous night.
“While I was at Plumtree border post residential place, I saw two men emerging from the bush and stopped the vehicle,” Madungwe said.
“I ordered that they be searched and the accused pretended to be dumb and used sign language and started running away leaving his satchel behind. On searching the other one, we discovered that he was a local person.”
He said together with Murambiwa and Sibanda they gave chase, but Muunganirwa opened fire at them using a pistol.
“I then fired two shots at him and he ran towards a nearby hill. We followed his spoor for about three kilometres and I then came back where I had left the vehicle.”
“When I was in Vaka area I saw the accused coming from a certain homestead. When accused saw the police vehicle, he started running away. When I stopped the vehicle he pointed the firearm at me. I dashed to the ground and fired two shots using an AK rifle.
I followed him for almost two kilometres. When I saw that he was heading towards the boundary with Botswana, I shot him on the left thigh. He surrendered. I recovered an empty magazine which the accused had dropped while he was running away. I also recovered passport which the accused had torn off some of the pages.”
Murambiwa corroborated Madungwe’s statement saying Muunganirwa fired four shots initial before he disappeared into the nearby hill. He said they only recovered one cartridge of the fired shots by Muunganirwa.
Sibanda also corroborated Madungwe and Murambiwa’s statements saying Muunganirwa fired several shots towards them before he disappeared into the bush and before he was later shot and arrested by Madungwe.