BY REX MPHISA
RELATIVES of a Beitbridge man, who was shot and killed by a member of the security forces on an operation in the border town, say he was not a robber as police claimed, but just a mere tout at a bus terminus.
Police claimed Abel Gumbo, who was killed in Lutumba, was on the wanted list for a spate of armed robberies and fled when they took him by surprise.
The relatives want the officer, who shot Gumbo, charged with murder and their family compensated.
They said he only took to his heels thinking they were on a mission to enforce Covid-19 regulations and he was not putting on a face mask as per regulations.
The relatives feel authorities did not explore several other methods to arrest Gumbo without the fatal use of maximum force, considering he was entering a building.
Gumbo was shot dead at dawn on May 27 soon after he had helped a woman offload her cabbages off a South Africa bound truck.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said relatives should take their case to head of Beitbridge police Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo.
“I am not aware of that version,” Nyathi said.
“Can the family approach the Dispol at Beitbridge and make an official complaint.
“If unsatisfied at Beitbridge the family must proceed to the province.”
Wellington Moyo (21), a family spokesman, said it would take long to recover from the shockthat followed Gumbo’s death.
“It was a cold morning when police arrived in a car in pursuit of some people while the deceased sat by the fire with two other guys,” Moyo said.
“Frightened from previous police encounters the deceased bolted on what became his last race.”
He was gunned down as he entered a room at Lutumba Beer Hall where his guardian lived.
“There was a woman at the place and a plain clothes man, who hit him asked whether Gumbo was Elvis, a suspected armed robber they were hunting down.
“Sadly this was Abel,” Moyo added.
He said soon after realising their mistake, the officers started arguing amongst themselves.
“One was heard asking the way forward since he had already made a mistake,” Moyo claimed.
“Dog handlers on the other side were heard complaining that their dogs had been disturbed by too much gunfire.”
The team then cordoned off the area and even barred the relatives of the deceased from viewing their loved one.
The relatives also disputed police claims that he was carrying a knife on the fateful day.
“We are sure they planted the weapon after realising their error.
“Why was everything done away from the relatives view?
“Even if he had a knife, could he have stabbed all those police and military officers,” asked Moyo.
Police reportedly sought Gumbo’s previous convictions at court where they discovered petty common assault cases.