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Harare Vendors Charged For Cop's Death

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Vendors operating in Harare’s central business district reportedly teamed up, attacked and killed a riot police officer last week, as they protested their continued harassment by law enforcement agents.

This emerged on Monday as one of the accused, Barnabas Mwanaka, appeared before Harare magistrate Tilda Mazhande, who remanded him in custody to July 24.

According to the State, Mwanaka (35) allegedly teamed up with fellow vendors on June 29 this year and attacked Talkmore Phiri, who was among a group of riot police officers deployed to restore order near the opposition MDC-T headquarters along Nelson Mandela Avenue.

The State alleges Phiri and his colleagues arrived at the scene in a Mitsubishi Canter truck before Mwanaka and his alleged accomplices, who are still at large, pelted them with stones.

Phiri and his colleague, Constable Constance Gumbo, allegedly fell off the vehicle, as vendors continued attacking them with stones.

Phiri was later rescued by his colleagues, who rushed him to Morris Depot Clinic, but was pronounced dead on admission.

Mwanaka was arrested at the weekend after he was positively identified by one of the police officers, who witnessed the alleged attack.

In court, Mwanaka accused police of battering him and forcing him to sign a warned-and-cautioned statement under duress and without legal representation.

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