The relatives of a Beitbridge man who was shot dead by a member of the security forces on an operation in the border town want to be compensated for the unlawful killing.
Abel Gumbo was killed in Lutumba at dawn on 27 March soon after he had helped a woman offload her cabbages off a South Africa bound truck.
His family said that he was not a robber as police claimed, but just a mere tout at a bus terminus. They want the officer who shot him charged with murder.
They said he only took to his heels thinking they were on a mission to enforce COVID-19 regulations and he was not putting on a face mask as per regulations.
However, the police claimed Gumbo was on the wanted list for a spate of armed robberies and fled when they took him by surprise.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said relatives should take their case to the head of Beitbridge police Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo.
Wellington Moyo (21), a family spokesman, said it would take long to recover from the shock that followed Gumbo’s death. He said:
It was a cold morning when police arrived in a car in pursuit of some people while the deceased sat by the fire with two other guys.
Frightened from previous police encounters the deceased bolted on what became his last race.
Gumbo was shot as he entered a room at Lutumba Beer Hall where his guardian lived. Added Moyo:
There was a woman at the place and a plainclothes man, who hit him asked whether Gumbo was Elvis, a suspected armed robber they were hunting down. Sadly this was Abel.
He said soon after realising their mistake, the officers started arguing amongst themselves.
The team then cordoned off the area and even barred the relatives of the deceased from viewing their loved one.
The relatives also disputed police claims that he was carrying a knife on the fateful day. Said Moyo:
We are sure they planted the weapon after realising their error. Why was everything done away from the relatives’ view?
Even if he had a knife, could he have stabbed all those police and military officers?