Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
A GRADE Five pupil from Binga lost an eye after game rangers allegedly mistook him for a poacher and assaulted him.
Two game rangers allegedly pounced on Proud Mudenda from Nagangala area, under Chief Siabuwa, hit him with a rifle butt and punched him.
One of the rangers, only identified as Chimoga, hit the boy on his left eye with the butt of the gun and damaged it.
The incident occurred at Mujere Fishing Camp in Binga.
The teenager’s father, Mr Abraham Mudenda said the incident was shocking because he did not expect experienced game rangers to mistake the little boy for a poacher.
“The boy was actually running around selling fish at the camp, a thing that the community does for a living in that area. He was rushing to buy fish on behalf of traders, who on daily basis come to that fishing camp to buy fish. Traders, with their families, run around a lot in that area as it is a hive for cheap fish,” he said.
Mr Mudenda said he was bitter.
“There was no need to continue assaulting a small boy after he tried to explain himself. ‘Sorry’ from the rangers will have no meaning because my child will now grow up with one eye,” he said.
A source who preferred anonymity said as the rangers approached, they assumed the boy was running away because of a guilty conscience yet he was rushing from the market to fetch more fish at home.
“Basing on this assumption, they ran after him, caught up with him and without investigating they began assaulting him. The boy tried to speak to them but the two men were too powerful for him.
“They left the scene and the boy managed to stagger back home. The matter was reported to Siabuwa police. We received feedback that Neighbourhood Watch Committee members had set out to arrest the game rangers,” said the source.
Chief Siabuwa condemned the rangers’ behaviour saying it was uncalled for.
“We shun violence. Even if this boy was a poacher, I doubt he deserved that kind of beating. I am sure they are supposed to apprehend and arrest and not assault unless in self defence.
“A good approach also plays a vital role when people are at work. There was absolutely no need to destroy a person’s eye, especially a Grade 5 pupil.
Rangers know the target group during patrols, which are certainly not children,” said the chief. — @winnie_masara