Paul Nyathi|Police claim to have recovered 210 anti-riot and 46 municipal police helmets stashed in the basement of Robinson House at the corner of Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Angwa Street in Harare on Saturday, according to state media.
The police also claim to have recovered stones, bricks and sticks stashed together with the police attire adding that they believed that the loot was earmarked for use in street violence.
The police have not yet explained how the helmets that are kept as a security item at police stations had been collected.
According to state run media, the cache was stumbled upon after police pursued a group of alledged thugs that had attacked a police officer who reportedly was waiting for someone at the building.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police tried to aid the poor officer but the rowdy youths only retreated into the basement after additional reinforcements arrived.
“A group of rowdy elements attacked a police officer who was about to meet his relative at Robinson House, these elements have declared the area a no-go area for police,” he said.
“Some officers who were nearby came to intervene but were also attacked, forcing them to call for back-up from Harare Central Police Station. When the hooligans saw that they were now being overpowered, they ran into the basement with the officers in pursuit.
“It was during the chase that they came across the helmets stashed in one of the rooms in the basement,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
He said 12 people have since been arrested in connection with the incident.
“Those who were arrested are Helton Tamangani (29), Evans Chinganga (39), Tichaona Maziya (22), Petros Kaesa (44), Adoration Tafadzwa Madziwa (23), Lovemore Chitengo(42), Terrence Nyadundu (24), Robson Mutseta (31), Hillary Nyawasha (29), Wambo Denford (41), Blessing Chirodza (41) and David Tawanda Tedere (35).”
Ast-Comm Nyathi said they were carrying out investigations to ascertain the origin of the helmets.