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Inmate dies in police custody

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There was pandemonium at Bulawayo Central Police Station yesterday after relatives of a detained suspect were told that their family member had died suddenly while in police cells.

BY SILAS NKALA

There was pandemonium at Bulawayo Central Police Station yesterday after relatives of a detained suspect were told that their family member had died suddenly while in police cells.

There was pandemonium at Bulawayo Central Police Station yesterday after relatives of a detained suspect were told that their family member had died suddenly while in police cells.
Police officers carrying the suspect’s body in a metal coffin

Relatives of Ian Mhlanga of Ntabazinduna Flats in Bulawayo, who had visited the station to see him, wept bitterly when they were told of his death, before they were shown his body.

They were puzzled by the death and demanded answers from the police.

Police sources confirmed Mhlanga of Number 315 Ntabazinduna Flats, died in the morning from an undisclosed ailment.

“Mhlanga was arrested for criminal insult and detained on November 2. He died this morning (yesterday),” a police source said.

“He was coughing while in the cell and his cellmates said he refused to be taken to hospital on several occasions during his detention.”

One inmate, Nhlanhla Ngwenya of Entumbane, also confirmed the officer’s assertions.

He said police officers had checked on Mhlanga on several occasions and even suggested taking him to hospital, but he refused.

Ngwenya said Mhlanga had been vomiting throughout the night and in the morning and he died before he could be taken to hospital.

The sources said although an ambulance had been summoned to attend to Mhlanga at the police station, council officials reportedly said there were none readily available.

An ambulance eventually arrived after Mhlanga had died.

His body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospital for post-mortem.

Contacted for comment, Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said: “I will check with the station, please call later.”

When called later in the afternoon, she promised to get back to Southern Eye, but had not done so by the time of going to print.

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