September 13, 2023

Barbourfields Stadium violence: Couple nabbed with firearm

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Crime Reporter

AT least 12 people, including a couple that was armed with a pistol, have been arrested over the violence which erupted on Sunday during a soccer match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.

Police said the law will take its course on hooligans at soccer matches as no stone will be left unturned to account for the suspects involved in the Barbourfields Stadium violence.

Of the 12 arrested, four were arrested for criminal nuisance, six for public violence while a couple was arrested for violating the Firearms Act after being found in possession of a pistol that had been brought into the stadium.

Some of the suspects were arrested on Monday while others were nabbed yesterday. They will appear in court soon.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests and said investigations were still in progress.

“We have so far arrested 12 suspects in connection with the violence and we are still continuing with our investigations. However, we are also still appealing for information which can assist to account for some of the suspects who instigated or participated in the violence at Barbourfields Stadium,” he said.

At least eight people, including four police officers, were injured while three police vehicles were damaged in violence which erupted on Sunday during the soccer match. Police have since condemned all forms of public violence and said investigations are being conducted.

On Monday, Asst Comm Nyathi said police were also disturbed by some politicians who tried to take advantage of the high profile soccer match to incite violence before, during and after the soccer match. “The Zimbabwe Republic Police condemns all forms of public violence at soccer matches in the country and will ensure that arrests are effected on hooligans without fear or favour. The Police assures the public that comprehensive investigations are underway in connection with the violence which erupted during the Premier Soccer League match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Barbourfields September 10, 2023.”

Asst Comm Nyathi said the police acted professionally as police officers initially deployed at Barbourfields Stadium tried to contain the situation through co-operation of marshals and did not throw tear smoke within the stadium.

This strategy helped avoid a stampede, fatalities or injury to the fans. Police also managed to evacuate the soccer players, match officials and VVIPS from the stadium and sought for reinforcements to assist in containing the situation.

Tear smoke was only used outside the stadium to disperse the violent crowd who openly threw stones and other objects at police officers.

Last week, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga warned all unruly elements who engage in activities that border on criminality and acts that are either overtly or covertly calculated to throw this country into anarchy that they will be dealt with decisively.

His sentiments came after police had launched investigations into some social media messages being posted by individuals and groups agitating for unlawful activities and disturbances in the country.

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