By Gift Phiri
HARARE – Police have reportedly launched a massive manhunt for Jim Kunaka, who is believed to be leader of Zanu PF shadowy militant group, Chipangano.
Chipangano members are believed to have been behind the gunfire directed at Harare municipal police officers demolishing illegal car sale yards in Harare on Sunday.
While Harare police spokesperson James Sabau could not immediately comment on the operation yesterday as he was tied up at the Exhibition Park, detectives at the Harare Central Police Station told the Daily News an operation has been launched to get Kunaka.
Sources said he was wanted because police believe he is the one who discharged the firearm at an illegal car sale yard along Robert Mugabe Road on Sunday. Kunaka denied he was on the run when the Daily News contacted him for comment.
The case, which was reported at Rhodesville Police Station, has been transferred to the Harare Central Police Station, where detectives are moving in on the Chipangano militia. Detectives believe Kunaka was the gunman who fired two shots at municipal police officers demolishing the car sale garages, sources said.
The illegal car sale firm is believed to be owned by the second wife of one of Harare’s most senior Zanu PF provincial officials.
The official’s wife, employed in the ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, reportedly used a government vehicle Reg Number ACC 9709 to launch a retaliatory operation against council’s attempts to stamp out the illegal car sales.
When municipal police began demolishing the car sales, the official’s wife allegedly summoned the Chipangano crew. Dozens of men with deadly weapons besieged the contingent of municipal police, beating the cowering officers.
Witnesses said when the crack of gunfire rang out, scores of municipal police officers cried and ran to escape the whips of the Chipangano militia. The aftermath of Sunday’s attack left eight officers, apparently suffering from head wounds and soft tissue injuries.
The police hunt for Chipangano members comes hardly a month after Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa decreed Zanu PF Harare province chairperson Amos Midzi to swiftly rein-in the militia which has also stalled construction of a $1,2 million food court and service station by businessman Alex Mashamhanda in Mbare.
Mutasa told Midzi the provincial leadership must stamp out the militia’s activities. Kunaka yesterday dismissed the police manhunt as “rumours”. “I am not even linked to all those skirmishes. I do not know who is trying to put me or connect me to those skirmishes. I do not sell cars. I am not in that business,” he said.
Asked if he was on the run, Kunaka retorted: “I am walking scot free. I am in Harare. Why should I go on the run? I did not commit any crime. Tell the people who are telling you that to go to hell. They must mind their own business.” Daily News
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