A CRIMINAL Investigation Department (CID) Homicide reaction team which responded to the scene of Tawanda Muchehiwa’s abduction was told to “leave the case alone” by their Law and Order counterparts, The NewsHawks has learnt.
Muchehiwa was forcibly taken by a suspected Ferret team from a vehicle outside a hardware store in Bulawayo and taken to a secluded place where he was tortured for three days and later dumped near his home in Mahatshula suburb.
Sources told The NewsHawks that a report reached the Homicide department, which investigates cases of armed robbery, murder and hijackings, just after Muchehiwa had been grabbed in a crime where guns had been used.
“When they rushed to the scene they did an assessment and the preliminary investigations indicated that it was not a robbery, if anything it pointed to a kidnapping,” the source said.
“The Homicide department then contacted the Law and Order to share notes on the crime and to ask if they were aware of the case. The Law and Order said ‘iyo siyanai nayo’ (leave the case alone).”
The Homicide department concluded that it might have been a Ferret operation as the force includes members of the Law and Order department as well as members of the Police Internal Security Intelligence, personnel from the army and the Central Intelligence Organisation.
The Ferret team has been implicated in several cases of abduction and torture of opposition and civil society activists.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi and Bulawayo acting provincial spokesperson Nomalanga Msebele refused to comment on the issue, giving different excuses.
The NewsHawks first tried to call Nyathi on 29 October to get an update on investigations.
Nyathi however said the Bulawayo police press and public relations office was responsible for commenting on the matter.
The NewsHawks then contacted Msebele on the same day who told the publication to call the Bulawayo Central Police Station landline telephone and lodge a query with the public relations office there.
After several back-and-forth phone calls with her office, she then referred The NewsHawks back to Nyathi, saying only the national office could comment on “political matters”.
Bizarrely, Nyathi then asked this reporter to ask Msebele to call him, before saying he would call back after talking to Msebele.
Further inquiries to Nyathi were not responded to.
Meanwhile, the police have launched investigations into the incident with teams being sent from Harare and Gweru to Bulawayo to investigate the matter, not necessarily for prosecution, but to establish facts relating to the matter following pressure from the press and human rights activists.