Suspected terrorists remanded in custody

Suspected terrorists remanded in custody

courthammer14feb2Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—
four men suspected of trying to petrol-bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy farm in Mazowe were yesterday back in court facing a more serious charge of treason after investigations revealed that they sought to overthrow the Government through unconstitutional means. Zimbabwe People’s Front political party president Owen Kuchata (34) and Borman Ngwenya (30), Solomon Makumbe (29) and Silas Pfupa (37) appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe under heavy police guard.

The court heard that Ngwenya and Makumbe are attached to 1 Field Regiment and Zimbabwe Intelligence Corps. When they initially appeared in court recently, the four were charged with possession of weaponry for sabotage and money laundering.

However, after further investigations, treason charges emerged after it was discovered that the quartet had established a militia training base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West, where they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry.

It is alleged they proceeded to President Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba where they carried out investigations identifying suitable vulnerable points to sabotage. Makumbe and Pfupa had been released before plea under the instructions of Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana, who is said to have unilaterally suggested that the two be treated as witnesses.

According to the State, this was contrary to the evidence at hand, which linked them to the offence. As a result, Mr Tomana was arrested and charged with criminal abuse of office as public officer or alternatively defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

The quartet, who is not represented, appeared before Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe, who remanded them in custody to February 16. They were advised to apply for bail at the High Court due to the seriousness of the offence.

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza alleged that sometime in August 2015, the accused persons met at Queens Hotel in Harare where they hatched a plan to unseat a constitutionally elected Government through force.

Sometime in December 2015, Kuchata and Ngwenya proceeded to Mapinga, where they identified a suitable location to establish a militia training base, it is alleged. It is the State’s case that they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry from that camp as a way of forcing the President to surrender power.

On January 1, this year, they allegedly proceeded to President Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba where they carried out reconnaissance identifying suitable vulnerable points to sabotage.

It is alleged the four held several meetings at Queens Hotel mapping strategies on how they would strike. In one of their meetings they conspired to carry out attacks using fertiliser bombs to overthrow the constitutionally elected Government of Zimbabwe.

Police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and tuckshop during the night. The dairy’s processing plant and tuckshop are located at Gushungo Dairy Estate, Jumbo Road in Mazowe.

Acting on the tip-off, the police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target. Around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the processing plant and immediately arrested them.

They searched them and recovered four Molotov cocktails (bombs) made of petrol, ammonium nitrate, nails and sand in 750ml liquor empty bottles. The recovered devices were sent for forensic examination and were found to be home-made fertiliser bombs capable of causing fatal and extensive damage.

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