A group of suspected soldiers allegedly assaulted students at Midlands State University (MSU) last Saturday evening, leaving more than three dozen seriously injured.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
The soldiers were reportedly on a revenge mission after a member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was beaten by a group of students following a misunderstanding over a woman at a city drinking spot in the Midlands capital of Gweru.
According to witnesses, the soldiers disembarked at the main campus from a commuter omnibus before they went on a rampage randomly assaulting students using cue sticks.
Although MSU acting director of information and public relations Mirirai Mawere, said the matter has since been reported at Senga Police Station, acting Midlands provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende said she was still to receive the report.
“I am still to receive that report. In any case if I get it I would not be at liberty to comment if it involves State security agents and I can only refer you to the national police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba,” Mukwende said.
Efforts to get a comment from Charamba hit a brick wall as her mobile phone went unanswered.
Army spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore said there was no indication that the assailants were soldiers.
“There is no evidence to show that those people are soldiers. Gweru has a lot of illegal panners masquerading as army personnel just to intimidate people and as well as frighten those against whom they would have committed crimes,” Makotore said.
Zimbabwe National Students’ Union secretary-general, Makomborero Haruzivishe condemned the alleged attack.
“The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union is deeply concerned with the attack on students by 15 soldiers of the Zimbabwe National Army at Midlands State University yesterday (Saturday) evening,” Haruzivishe said in a statement.
“Thirty-seven students were viciously assaulted with 14 getting broken limps (sic) and one is feared to have had brain damage and is currently in a coma. We are more worried by the MSU authorities who have time to time failed to provide security for students on campus as this is not the first time such an attack has occurred.”
Rogue units in Zimbabwe’s military routinely engage in fist-fights with the public before organising themselves into groups on revenge missions.