TWO women in Hwange are reportedly battling for life at a local hospital after being hit by stray bullets fired by police officers who were raiding informal coal traders.
The women who are neighbours were reportedly shot on Saturday evening as they sat outside their houses at A section in Madumabisa Village.
National Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said:
“We are still investigating the unfortunate incident and will have more details tomorrow.”
However, eyewitnesses told Chronicle that the two women were chatting at their homes when Zulani Mudenda who had come from bathing was shot in the abdomen while her unidentified friend was hit on the breast.
“Two women were shot and injured by officers from the Support Unit stationed at Number 2 showgrounds who opened fire maybe to scare illegal coke traders during a raid. One of the women who were at the house at A section, Zulani Mudenda had her stomach ripped open while her neighbour was hit on the breast,” said a resident.
The raid was reportedly sparked by an increase in the number of people who are panning for coke at a disused mine dump following increasing demand from some coal merchants for the product. A 50kg sack of coke is bought by the merchants at US$3. One woman from the area recently died while another escaped death by a whisker when they fell into a tunnel before being buried alive while scrounging for coke at the dumpsite. They suffered burns and bruises following the mishap and had to spend weeks in hospital.
Residents through their association appealed for an investigation into the incident arguing that it had left them in a state of shock and fear.
“As residents we are saddened by the shooting of the two ladies and we call for a proper and comprehensive investigation of the matter. There should be no sacred cows,” said Greater Hwange Residents Trust co-ordinator, Mr Fidelis Chima.