POLICE in Tsholotsho had to call for reinforcements from the Bulawayo Dog Section to subdue and arrest a man from Sipepa who ran amok and disarmed two officers before spearing one of them in the buttocks.
The man also attacked the police dogs, injuring one of them with a log.
Matheo Sibanda (34) attacked the officers who were trying to restrain him from smashing windows at a relative’s homestead on Tuesday.
Constable Shepherd Dube (31) allegedly fled from the scene with the spear stuck on his behind, leaving his service pistol on the ground.
His colleague, Cst Mutsetse, took to his heels, with Sibanda, who had picked the gun but was failing to shoot, in hot pursuit.
Cst Dube is receiving treatment at Tsholotsho District hospital where the spear has been removed.
Villagers said Cst Mutsetse returned hours later with police officers from Tsholotsho centre, about 70 kilometres from Sipepa.
“Somehow, when he realised he was outnumbered, Sibanda fled from the group and went through a barrier made up of thorns. The police officers failed to follow him and returned to their station as darkness had fallen,” said a villager.
The villager said Cst Mutsetse’s hand was badly pricked by the thorns when he tried to give chase.
The officers called for back up from the dog section in Bulawayo.
The police mounted a third raid in the wee hours of Wednesday morning with six dogs in tow.
Villagers said police found Sibanda at his homestead where he was relaxing on his bed with the door to his bedroom wide open.
Sources in the community said Sibanda was a notorious criminal on the wanted list for crimes such as theft and assault.
A source close to investigations said the combative Sibanda only surrendered after three police dogs had attacked him. “The man didn’t surrender easily because police made two trips to his homestead. They arrested him on the third attempt where they had to use dogs.
“He even hit one of the dogs with a log and they had to release a third one. He ignored repeated police warnings, advancing to attack them and the dogs. He only gave up after the dogs bit him,” said the source.
A villager who preferred anonymity said “uSibanda ulamangoromera” (he is possessed by a spirit of violence).
The villager said trouble started when Sibanda ran amok at a teacher’s homestead, breaking windows over an unknown issue on Tuesday.
The villager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Sibanda is related to the teacher.
“All hell broke loose when the teacher made a report at Sipepa Police Station and officers tried to arrest him,” said the villager.
A police source said investigators searched his house and found one of the bullets from the cop’s gun in a bottle with suspected charms for juju.
“They quizzed him on the whereabouts of the gun until he revealed where he had hidden it. It was found with two bullets out of the original four.
They found the fourth bullet somewhere at Sibanda’s homestead,” said the source.
National police spokesperson Chief Supt Nyathi confirmed that a police officer was injured in an attempt to arrest a “suspected mentally challenged man.”
“I can confirm that one of our officers was seriously injured by a suspected mentally challenged man in an attempt to arrest him. Investigations are underway.
“We urge families and communities with mentally challenged persons to ensure that they assist in seeking medical attention for them so that they don’t become a danger to them,” said Chief Supt Nyathi.