Freeman Razemba and Tertia Makurumidze
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has expressed concern over the increase in cases in which its officers continue to be attacked in some areas in and around the CBD by suspected MDC-Alliance youths.
The rowdy youths have declared some of the spots in the city a no-go area for police officers, especially roads near their party headquarters, Harvest House.
On Saturday, a policewoman sustained serious injuries after being attacked with stones by some of these youths in the city. She is currently receiving treatment at a local hospital.
Investigations are still in progress.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned all criminal elements that the long arm of the law will be applied to them without fear or favour.
“The ZRP is disturbed by the continuous acts of assaults on police officers at the area between Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Angwa Street.
“No one has the right to attack police officers irrespective of one’s religion, colour, creed or status. Police will ensure law and order is maintained,” he said.
The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services also confirmed the attack on its Twitter.
“Today (Saturday), a female police officer was attacked around Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Angwa Street. Stones were used as missiles. She is in hospital receiving treatment. We wish her full recovery. The public is urged to respect police officers whose role is to maintain law and order.
“The nation needs a political culture that eschews violence. Police are currently dealing with threats of violence issued against QV Pharmacy staff by the people who have declared parts of the Harare CBD no-go areas. Attacking police and threatening others is unacceptable.”
Last week, 11 suspected MDC-Alliance marshals appeared in court for allegedly assaulting a police officer at a food court in Harare’s central business district claiming it was a no-go area for law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, police have warned members of the public to be wary of a syndicate of criminals that is swindling people of their hard-earned cash through card cloning and online banking.
This comes after several people lost their money after either receiving a call or an SMS from people purporting to be employees from their banks.
Most of the victims received a call from phone line number +263864479973.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the increase in such cases.
“There is an increase in the number of fraud cases through card cloning and online banking,” he said.
“Criminals are targeting pensioners or people with large sums of money in their accounts.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said, recently, a Victoria Falls man lost $19 685,05 after he received a call from +263864479973 with the caller claiming to be a bank employee.
“The caller was armed with all information concerning the man and he requested his PIN number and asked him to confirm through SMSs on his cellphone,” he said. “Within a short space of time, the money had been withdrawn from his account.
“We encourage the public not to respond to SMS from unknown bank officials or divulge their passwords over the phone.”
In another case, a man recently received a call from the same number with the unknown caller purporting to be an official from a local bank.
“The caller informed the unsuspecting complainant that he was fixing his account so that he could receive instant messages after every transaction from the bank,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“He went on to request the complainant to supply their PIN number and the complainant complied. A few minutes thereafter, the complainant received a message advising him that some money had been withdrawn from his account.
“On checking with the bank, he discovered that the money had been stolen. This is a growing phenomenon. We urge the public not to be lured to change their PIN numbers on the phone, but should personally do so at their banks.”
Last year, police warned members of the public to be wary of such criminals and over 154 cases have been reported countrywide.
Card cloning involves the production of counterfeit bank debit cards by criminals after fraudulently acquiring bank debit/credit card information contained in the magnetic strip of the bank debit card.
The criminals are acquiring bank debit card information through gadgets known as skimmers. The skimmers are able to extract debit card information and the said devices are similar to Point of Sale (POS) machines.
Some criminals also steal POS machines from shops and service stations for the purpose of uploading data which they use to clone debit cards.