The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) has sensationally claimed that protestors broke into police armouries and stole guns which they used to kill citizens, including a police officer during the January fuel riots.
While addressing the media in Harare on Monday, ZDF Chief of Staff, Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba said that the army was not responsible for the brutal crackdown on civilians but used minimum force. He blamed deserters from the military for the killing of citizens. Said Nyikayaramba:
Following the deployment of the ZDF, there have been a number of serious allegations levelled against us, including human rights abuses, rape, assaults, extortion and others.
It is important to state that the ZDF’s response was commensurate to the level of violence and damage caused by the protesters.
Soldiers were deployed to patrol the streets and if there are soldiers who could have acted overboard, investigations will be conducted.
We have been flashing out rogue elements and we have a challenge that some of them ran away with our uniforms. Some of the uniforms are stolen on washing lines, which other people use to perpetrate criminal activities.
Some of the uniforms are taken from deceased people. We have not been collecting them and it’s a weakness in the system. We urge all those with the uniforms to return them. Some have started returning them and there is a heap in Epworth from people surrendering them.
There is no terrorism in Zimbabwe. There is no insurgency. It is only the acts of those criminal elements.