By Nqobile Tshili
Bulawayo – A police base caught fire under unclear circumstances in Bulawayo’s Emakhandeni suburb yesterday.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident but cautioned against hasty conclusions that the fire could have been caused by a petrol bomb.
He said police were yet to conclude their investigations. No one was injured in the incident which is suspected to have occurred in the early hours of yesterday morning.
This follows two attacks on police bases in Bulawayo recently. Last month, a police base was petrol-bombed in Magwegwe suburb but the fire was extinguished before it could spread. In February, a group of five daring robbers struck at a police base near Amakhosi Cultural Centre where they attempted to sexually assault a female cop.
Yesterday, a Chronicle news crew visited the Emakhandeni police base and observed some officers conducting investigations. They told the news crew that they could not comment on the matter, referring questions to the police’s public relations office. The news crew noted that the fire could have started from outside the caravan that is used as the base.
Chief Supt Nyathi said: “First, it’s premature to say the police base was petrol-bombed. We’re still conducting investigations but there’s a likelihood that our guys who were at the base could have used an electric heater which caused the fire. We implore you, the media, not to draw conclusions that it was petrol- bombed,” said Chief Supt Nyathi.
He issued a stern warning that police will stop at nothing to protect their members from attack. Chief Supt Nyathi said members of the public should know that police bases are there to provide law enforcement services closer to communities.
“Police bases are meant to bring police services in places where the actual police stations might be far away from the people. Members of the public only want police services when they have been robbed or attacked. But when they’re not in need they forget that they need us,” he said.
“I want to warn members of the public who might harbour any intentions of attacking police officers. We will not stand by and watch when misguided people want to injure or tamper with officers. I want to warn them against doing things that may cause alarm and despondency in the ZRP and other State entities.” — @nqotshili. The Chronicle