At least 50 touts have been arrested after they allegedly severely assaulted a policeman who had attempted to rescue a group of women who were being harassed by touts at Mbare Musika on Wednesday afternoon.
The policeman, whose condition was reported to be critical, was admitted at Harare Central Hospital. Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday said the 50 were in custody and will appear in court today. “We have arrested 50 touts in Mbare after they teamed up and severely assaulted a policeman yesterday (Wednesday),” she said. “One of the touts is being charged with attempted murder.” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said on Wednesday, the policeman saw the touts harassing a group of women and forcibly taking their bags. The policeman tried to assist the women, but the touts became violent and assaulted him all over the body.
He was later assisted and taken to hospital. Snr Asst Comm Charamba said when police went to the scene, the touts ganged up and tried to assault the police but they were arrested. “We would like to send a stern warning to touts that such behaviour will not be tolerated,” she said. “Police will descend heavily on them and the law will take its course.” Snr Asst Comm Charamba warned touts against harassing commuters and travellers, saying the police will not hesitate to arrest them. This is not the first time that members of the uniformed forces have been attacked by touts in the city. In September 2012, rank marshals severely assaulted two soldiers in uniform at the Charge Office bus terminus in Harare after they came to the rescue of commuters who were being harassed. For the past few years, police have been conducting operations targeting touts to restore order at commuter omnibus ranks in and around the city. In 2013 more than 500 touts were arrested during the crackdown to enable people to move freely. Most of the touts were taken to court on charges of touting and they were fined.