Zimbabwe News

Police launch manhunt for transport mogul, Leonard Mukumba

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has launched a manhunt for Leonard Mukumba, the owner of Inter-Africa Bus Services, in connection with the violence that rocked Mutare central business district on Thursday last week.

Police have since arrested Isau Mupfumi (62), another prominent bus operator and a member of the ZANU PF central committee, as well as 16 other people in connection with the violence. Said ZRP spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Ngwarai Nyathi:

The Police is appealing for information which may lead to the arrest of Leonard Mukumba, the owner of Mukumba Buses trading under the name Inter-Africa Bus Services in connection with the orgy of violence.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Zimbabwe Passengers Transport Organisation (ZIPTO) chairperson Samson Nhanhanga condemned the violence and appealed to the government to restore sanity to the industry. He said:

We don’t support violence. We don’t support touting. Operators must not pile buses on over-subscribed routes.

We appeal for government intervention in this regard. Permits must not be issued before an assessment has been done.

We have saturated routes and areas with a serious shortage of transport.

Meanwhile, Asst. Comm. Nyathi said police recovered several vehicles and dangerous weapons such as knives, hoe handles, and iron bars that were used during the skirmishes. He said:

Some of the suspects were hired and paid to engage in public violence using vehicles whilst carrying machetes and other weapons. In one of the incidents, Police had to fire warning shots to effect arrests as the gangs were fighting and striking one another with machetes, stones, iron bars, and other weapons. Some members of the public were caught in the crossfire and sustained injuries.

The Police has recovered a white Toyota Hiace vehicle registration number ABF 2518, a white Toyota Belta vehicle registration number AFA 6517, a White Mazda 323 vehicle registration number ABM 8801, a silver Toyota Wish vehicle registration number AEP 6689, a white Honda Fit vehicle registration number AFM 1550, a white Toyota Aqua vehicle registration number AGG 0083, knives, hoe handles, iron bars, stones, two slushiers, a red and black sjambok and a 1,5 metres deformed bar.

Several complainants have made reports of assault to the Police. Initial Police investigations indicate that there is a fight over loading bays and ranks at Harare-Mutare Old Rank in the Mutare Central Business District and Mudzviti Rank pitting Mupfumi buses and Mukumba buses.

Assist. Comm Nyathi strongly warned bus operators and criminal gangs against instaging violence at bus ranks, saying they will face the full wrath of the law. He said:

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police reiterates that any bus operator and their criminal gangs who try to cause chaos or violence at commuter ranks or bus termini will face the full wrath of the law.

In this regard, bus operators are implored to lead by example and contribute towards the maintenance of law and order in the country.

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