Two ZNA soldiers, accused of shooting dead two Mwenezi brothers have been acquitted of murder by Justice Garainesu Mawadze at the High Court in Masvingo.
The soldiers who are based at HQ1 Brigade in Bulawayo and were acquitted on Tuesday are Tapiwanashe Basopo (37) and Collen Ncube (29). They were deployed to Mijingwe Ranch in Mwenezi when the shooting incident happened.
The allegations were that Basopo, Ncube and a third soldier Chrispen Maphosa (30) who is at large were on December 26, 2019 approached by Olman Nyunyana who complained that his brother Ernest had been severely assaulted by three Matarise brothers on Christmas evening.
Basopo, Ncube and Maphosa offered to track and apprehend the accused brothers. Maphosa and Basopo armed themselves with AK 47 rifles and dressed in army regalia. They arrived at Shayamabvudzi Business Centre at around 9 pm and confronted Sifelani who ran home and informed his brothers, Ngonidzashe and Hosiah.
The brothers armed themselves with a knife, machetes, an iron bar, and a screwdriver and went and confronted the soldiers. A misunderstanding arose and the brothers charged towards the soldiers.
Sifelani and Hosiah were then shot dead. Ngonidzashe escaped and filed a Police report. Police teamed up with military Police and arrested the three soldiers.
Four live rounds, three spent cartridges, magazines and two AK47 rifles were recovered.
The State however, said in court that it did not have enough evidence to nail the two and Justice Mawadze cleared them of the charges.
Police are looking for Maphosa after a warrant of arrest was issued by the High Court on March 17, 2022. Justice Mawadze did not clear Maphosa of the charges after noting that the suspect had not reported for work for several months.
Sifelani and Hosiah were shot in the chest and head respectively and they died on the spot.
“The State has indicated that there is not enough evidence to get a verdict and my judgment is as follows. Maphosa remains on warrant of arrest issued on March 17, 2022. Basopo and Ncube are hereby cleared of the murder and any other related charges and are hereby acquitted. The two AK47 rifles being held as exhibits will remain since the State intends to try Maphosa,” said Justice Mawadze.
Justice Mawadze said Basopo and Ncube had religiously attended court hearings and urged them to behave appropriately as members of the uniformed forces.
Emmanuel Mathose prosecuted and Martin Mureri of Matutu Mureri Legal Practitioners appeared for Ncube and Basopo. —Masvingo Mirror