A VICTORIA Falls man is battling for his life after police on patrol allegedly set dogs on him and his friend accusing them of being poachers.
One of the victims, Bruce Ndlovu (24) of Chinotimba high-density suburb told Southern Eye that the cops set their dogs on them as punishment for swimming at the Zambezi rainforest on Tuesday.
“My seven friends and I were swimming in a small pool at the Zambezi rainforest in the afternoon when Zimparks rangers came and arrested us accusing us of being poachers,” he said yesterday on his bed at Victoria Falls Hospital.
“We were taken to the police and were ordered to pay a fine of $20 each. We told them that we did not have it and they ordered us to do a three-hour community service at the rainforest. We complied.
“At around 6pm, we were done and as we were walking towards the exit, the police came in a Defender and stopped close to us.
“One of the officers accused us of being poachers and we tried to explain that we were swimming, not poaching. While we were still explaining, he set his dog on us.
“We were ordered to stand still, but as it was biting one of our friends, we tried to escape and suddenly it came to attack me.
“I was bitten in my right leg under the knees and in the hand.”
Ndlovu said the cops then restrained their dog and ordered the injured men to get into the car so they could seek medical attention.
“We were bleeding profusely and when we got to town, they told us to walk to hospital,” he said.
“The treatment is too expensive and the nurses said the scars are too deep and cannot be stitched. I don’t even have the money to pay for the hospital bills and the bed. I am now using a wheelchair because the pain is excruciating and my muscles have been paralysed.”
Efforts to get a comment from the second victim were fruitless as he remained in a deep sleep during the visit. Victoria Falls Residents’ Association chairperson Morgan Gaza said it was saddening that a lot of people were being assaulted and some even killed by Zimparks rangers and the police for no apparent reason.
“A few weeks back, two men were gunned down by parks rangers and the police for alleged poaching, but there was no evidence linking them to it,” he said.
“Maybe looking for firewood is now defined as poaching.
“These guys were punished and later bitten by dogs for an undefined crime and the police did not bother to take them to hospital, even after realising their mistake.
“They just wrote a letter for them to get treated and that is a sign that justice is not practiced here.”
The officer commanding police in Victoria Falls district Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.