Police condemn BF violence, warn political activists
Peter Matika, [email protected]
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has condemned the violent incident that took place at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday during a match between football giants Highlanders FC and Dynamos FC.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said the police were carrying out comprehensive investigations and assured members of the public that perpetrators of violence will soon be arrested.
He warned unscrupulous political activists against seeking to manipulate the incident to incite violence in the country saying hooliganism would not be tolerated and that any culprits risk being arrested without fear or favour.
“The police assure the public that comprehensive investigations are underway in connection with the violence which erupted during the Premier Soccer League match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium on 10th September 2023,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Republic Police is disturbed by some politicians who tried to take advantage of the high-profile soccer match to incite violence before, during, and after the soccer match.”
He said some of the political undertones have been clearly seen on social media platforms.
“The police warn such political activists that they risk being arrested for inciting violence at soccer matches,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said preliminary investigations have established that four police officers and four members of the public were injured during the pitch invasion and subsequent violence, which erupted inside the stadium.
Asst Comm Nyathi said three police vehicles were stoned and damaged by hooligans.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police acted professionally as police officers initially deployed at Barbourfields Stadium tried to contain the situation through cooperation of marshals and did not throw tear smoke within the stadium,” he said.
“This strategy assisted in avoiding stampedes, fatalities, or injury to the fans from the two opposing teams,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Through swift action, he said the police managed to evacuate soccer players, match officials, and VIPs from the stadium, before calling for reinforcements to contain the situation.
“Tear smoke was only used outside the stadium to disperse the violent crowd which openly threw stones and other objects at police officers,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police appeals for information, that can assist in accounting for some of the suspects who instigated or participated in the violence at Barbourfields Stadium.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said the members of the public should feel free to give information through the national complaints desk on (0242) 703631 or WhatsApp on 0712 800 197.
“The police reiterate that the law will take its course on hooligans at soccer matches and will leave no stone unturned to account for the suspects involved in the Barbourfields Stadium violence,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.