Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
The Zimbabwe National Army bomb disposal squad and police were on Monday called to Bulawayo’s Emganwini suburb after residents stumbled on a hand grenade believed to have been left in the area during the war of liberation.
Zimbabwe National Army 1 Infantry Brigade Public Relations Officer Captain Brian Muchero yesterday described the device as an M962 fragmentation hand grenade.
“An explosive was found whilst a work party was digging a foundation. The type of explosive was an M962 fragmentation hand grenade. It is believed to be part of the remnant explosives of the liberation struggle,” said Cpt Muchero.
“The military engineers from 1 Field Engineers Squadron attended the scene and got rid of the device.”
Cpt Muchero warned communities never to tamper with any explosives and to report immediately if any objects suspected to be explosives were found.
“The community is encouraged to be on the lookout when digging so that when they identify any suspicious items they should report immediately to the police. These items are not to be moved or tampered with under any circumstances,” said Cpt Muchero.
An M962 grenade has a killing radius of about 15 metres and general blast radius of about 200 metres.
When The Chronicle arrived at the scene, a visibly shaken builder indicated where he stumbled upon the explosive but referred all questions to the owner of the house, Mrs Nqobizitha Dube-Mkhwananzi.
Her sister, Ms Talent Dube said residents jostled see the device after news spread that an explosive had been unearthed.
“We were very shocked as a family that a bomb was found within our yard that we may have been walking over it for years. The thought is quite scary,” said Ms Dube.
Some residents said councils should ensure that lands are thoroughly combed for any explosives which may have been left during war times before residential stands are allocated to the public for safety reasons.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident and said the explosive was found by men digging at a house under renovations.
“As they (builders) were working on rubble they discovered the grenade. They were digging in the area and that is when it was discovered. It was safely destroyed by the Zimbabwe National Army engineers,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi. —@andile_tshuma