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Patrol officer shoots firewood poachers to death, court told

By Anesu Madiye

A 23-year-old Mbizi Game Park patrol officer appeared in court yesterday for allegedly killing a man he had found stealing firewood from the park. Trymore Bhimoni (23) appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa and was denied bail.

File picture of Harare Magistrates Court
File picture of Harare Magistrates Court

The matter was remanded to October 5.

Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that on September 20, Wellington Chihwai and Timothy Bota — both now deceased — went to look for firewood in Mbizi Game Park in Hatfield, Harare, with Peter Chikono and Edmore Kutinu.

Bhimoni, who was on night patrol with his colleagues, met Chihwai and his colleagues carrying firewood on their bicycles.

One of the patrol officers informed the four that they were under arrest for illegally cutting down trees.

Bhimoni and his colleagues then tried to apprehend the trespassers who then resisted.

One of the officers identified as Lovemore was overpowered and he fled the scene.

Bhimoni who was armed with a rifle, fired a warning shot in the air. Bota got hold of Bhimoni’s rifle and tried to wrestle it away.

When Bhimoni realised that he was being overpowered, he fled the scene leaving the rifle in Bota’s hands.

Chihwai, Bota and their friends assaulted another officer and left on their bicycles. On their way, they met three men who had also cut down trees and they left the scene together.

Bhimoni then called for backup. He teamed up with other officers and followed Chihwai and his colleagues in a vehicle.

They caught up with them near the dam wall within the park and a fight broke out again.

Bhimoni managed to retrieve his rifle from Bota.

Chihwai and his colleagues then mobbed Bhimoni and tried to disarm him again. Bhimoni opened fire and hit Chihwai and Bota in the stomach.

He also shot at one of his colleagues Tawanda in the stomach.

Chihwai and Bota were both pronounced dead on arrival at Chitungwiza Central Hospital. The Herald