Some pirate kombi crews in Bulawayo are reportedly planning to attack traffic police officers at their homes in retaliation for the burning of two kombis in the city centre on Wednesday.
The Wednesday clashes saw four police officers being attacked by suspected kombi crews consisting of touts and drivers, money changers and vendors, Chronicle reported.
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This was after the cops had arrested a kombi driver who was driving a vehicle without number plates and had dropped passengers in the middle of the road along Herbert Chitepo Street between 5th and 6th Avenue.
The mob attack left four police officers hospitalised and two kombis were burnt to shells and pirate crews have blamed the cops for the fire incidents.
Chronicle is in possession of audios that were part of conversations by kombi crews on WhatsApp groups where some of them were threatening to attack cops.
In one of the audios, one of the members is heard saying that it is not difficult to trail the officers who were at the scene on Wednesday. He said:
Let’s look for someone who will tell us where the police officers who were involved in this incident stay.
I know where some of them stay but we need those who are responsible for burning the cars. They need to be identified so that we can approach them in their homes.
These people go to the shops, can’t we find someone who can track them down? Let’s trace them, we will find whoever did this.
Just in a day, we would have caught them. It’s not like these people spend all of their time at Drill Hall (police offices).
They also knock off and go to their homes, we need to follow them into their homes. We should not kill him or her but just deal with them.
Another “thug” concurred, suggesting that they should visit the cops at their homes and deal with them. He said:
You spoke like a man Mdu, we need to search for these people, raid their homes at night when they are with their families.
We will knock at their doors and inform him or her that we want to see them and if they do not come out, we will threaten to burn their homes and them inside. They will tell us why they are doing this.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned the kombi crews that it is a criminal offence to plot to commit a crime.
He said citizens who have concerns with police conduct should report to the relevant police department or even their commanders.
At the onset of the COVID-19 induced lockdown in March last year, the government banned private kombis allowing only those registered under ZUPCO to operate but some crews have continued to defy the ban.