By Tatenda Mabasa | Nehanda Mutare Bureau |
The Mutare Civic Centre was thrown into turmoil Tuesday afternoon after a bomb was discovered at a parking bay in the city’s administrative hub. The Zimbabwe National Army bomb disposal unit was summoned to the scene after a cleaner bumped into the dangerous weaponry while tiding the bay.
Officer Commanding Manicaland Police (Crime), Assistant Commissioner Edward Mbewe, confirmed the mysterious discovery, adding the investigations were in progress.
Town Clerk Mr Obert Muzawazi said the bomb discovery raised serious security and safety concerns at the Civic Centre. He said police and the army should trace the origins of the arsenal.
As word spread residents panicked linking the discovery to the insurgent dissidence in neighbouring Mozambique but the police assured public safety saying although investigations were still in their infancy, the discovery of the bomb has nothing to do with disturbances in Mozambique.
“At the moment we are still investigating the matter. ZNA engineers are working on it. The city is very safe and there is no link to what is happening across the border. When we have leads we will let you know,” said Asst Comm Mbewe.
A Joint Operation Committee meeting was convened in Mutare on Wednesday where the issue was deliberated on. A Press release was expected to be released after the meeting, but was still to be made public at the time of going to Press.
A female employee, Mrs Marvellous Simango, who was the second person to see the bomb, said it was spotted by a fellow cleaner who was doing her duties.
“The bomb was left at the entrance to the car park right at the centre. My colleague wanted to pick it up, but stopped after seeing the pin on it. We then alerted the municipal’s security personnel. We do not know its origins, but it was clear to us that it was something dangerous and not to be tampered with,” said Mrs Simango.
Mr Muzawazi said reports from the local authority’s police department suggested that the bomb was found at the upper car park.
“The bomb was found at the top car park at the Civic Centre at around 2pm. A cleaner who was doing her daily duties found the bomb and alerted security officers who later made a report to the police. We don’t know its source and we don’t know the target.
“What we know is that grenades are well secured military utilities and we wonder how that bomb found its way here. It poses safety concerns for me and all council workers as well as ratepayers who visit the Civic Centre daily to access council services. We hope law enforcement agents will get to the bottom of the case,” he said.
Workers at the Civic Centre bolted out of their offices as word spread that a bomb had been found at the car park. Some feared that more could have been planted in their offices and it was safer going out in the open.
Operations normalized later in the day after army engineers disposed the weapon and did thorough check ups.