Army planned bombing of Mugabe ice cream factory

HARARE – One of the suspects accused of attempting to petrol-bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy Farm yesterday maintained that it was a military- sanctioned operation, and he had been tasked by his superiors from the Zimbabwe National Army to monitor and trap the culprit.

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Through his lawyer, Mr Exactly Mangezi, Borman Ngwenya (30) said he kept one Major Mashava informed of the activities.

He said Owen Kuchata, who has since been jailed for the offence, was their target in the operation.

While cross-examining State witnesses, Mr Mangezi produced proof in the form of phone records showing communication between Ngwenya and Major Mashava.

However, two police officers who arrested Ngwenya and his alleged accomplices,, said the phone records were irrelevant in the matter saying no one knew what he communicated with Major Mashava.

Detective Sergeant Zorodzai Chatikobo said Ngwenya as a soldier might have indeed communicated with Major Mashava discussing different issues not the one before the court. The officers maintained that Ngwenya had a case to answer since he was arrested at the scene during the night.

“Your Worship, this is a mere phone record. Who knows what they were talking about? We cannot conclude that they were discussing the bombing operation. This is not a voice recording whereby we could listen to what they were discussing,” he said.

He added: “When I was called for briefing at Harare Central, I was told that there were four people who wanted to bomb Gushungo Dairy that we were supposed to ambush. I was not told that Ngwenya was on a military operation. I only got to know that he was a soldier after his arrest.”

Det Sgt Chatikobo said upon his arrest, Ngwenya never mentioned being an undercover agent.

Another cop from ZRP Support Unit department, Artwell Chimanga -who was part of the arresting team – said when the gang was arrested, they all had petrol bombs in their bags.

“At first, they lied that they were going to Mazowe Mine, but later changed their statements and said they were headed to Alpha Omega Dairy Farm,” he said.

He narrated to the court how they ambushed and arrested the quartet after receiving information from CID Law and Order Section.

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza also called two vendors from Mbare as witnesses.

Shingai Ngilazi told the court that Ngwenya bought the bottles they used from him, while Tawanda Makambaire submitted that the fertiliser they used to make the bombs was purchased from his market store.

Regional magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni heard that on January 22, around 4pm, police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and tuckshop during the night.

Acting on the tip-off, police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target. At around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the dairy’s processing plant and immediately arrested them. -Herald 

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