Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
FOUR pupils were injured when a commuter omnibus carrying 18 school children crashed into a ditch following a 5km high speed chase by motorbike cops in Bulawayo.
Witnesses alleged the police chased the kombi from Baines Junior School in Northend to Sauerstown suburb.
The incident occurred on Tuesday at about 5PM and the kombi driver who was involved in the high speed chase was ferrying pupils from Townsend, Milton and Eveline High schools to their different destinations.
The four injured pupils were rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital where they were treated and discharged.
The police officers allegedly escaped from the scene after realising that the kombi had plunged into a ditch.
A parent whose child was in the kombi expressed concern over police negligence saying all the children could have died.
The parent who identified herself as Patience said although the driver’s behaviour cannot be condoned, she was disappointed with the police’s response.
‘‘As a parent I look up to the police to protect our children but in this case I felt really let down. They have a duty to prevent crime but in this incident they assisted in its commission. They could have noted the number plates of the vehicle instead of chasing the kombi from Northend suburb to Sauerstown,” said Patience.
She said instead of assisting the injured, the police decided to escape from the scene of the accident, a confirmation that they realised that their action was unlawful and irresponsible.
The driver of the kombi, Mr Mzingaye Ncube was at pains to explain why he sped from the police while carrying pupils before admitting that what he did was wrong.
“It happened at about 5PM while I was being chased by the police. When we reached Beech Road in Sauerstown suburb I lost control of the vehicle and it plunged into a ditch.
I admit that it was wrong to escape from the police. What however I don’t understand is that when the police saw that I was involved in an accident, they made a u-turn and fled instead of assisting us,” said Mr Ncube.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the accident.
She however said she was not aware that the kombi was involved in a high speed chase with police officers.
“Four children were rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital where they were treated and discharged. The kombi was ferrying school children and it fell into a ditch at the end of a road in Sauerstown suburb. The kombi had 18 passengers,” said Insp Simango.
She warned kombi crews to abide by the rules of the road to reduce carnage.
Traffic police officers have of late come under fire for their conduct on the roads.
Earlier this month, anti-riot police had to be called after passengers who were in a kombi threatened to assault a police officer who had thrown spikes under their vehicle in Bulawayo’s Central Business District.