A sombre atmosphere gripped the Chisuma area in Victoria Falls after two siblings were Wednesday evening shot dead amid reports that they had tried to disarm anti-smuggling soldiers operating along the Zambezi River following a misunderstanding.

The pair, who are said to be cousins from Chisuma Number 2 Village outside Victoria Falls, reportedly assaulted one of the soldiers deployed in the area for anti-smuggling purposes and ended up trying to disarm him, resulting in the shooting incident.

While the deceased duo’s ages could not be immediately ascertained during the time of publishing, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi has confirmed the incident.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating the circumstances in which two suspects tried to disarm members of the security services who were on anti-smuggling deployments in Victoria Falls on 30 September 2020 resulting in a shooting incident and deaths of two suspects. As the security services team was at Chisuma Business Centre, at 7:30pm monitoring anti-smuggling activities and dispersing people who had gathered in contravention of Covid-19 regulations, one of the suspects assaulted a security service member and then tried to disarm him resulting in the scuffle,” he said.

Nyathi further implored on members of the public to shun the habit of attacking members of the security forces, deployed on national assignments.

“The other suspect joined in and ignored warnings given by security services members. The security services strongly warn members of the public against trying to disarm deployed personnel especially in the anti-smuggling operation and the public is urged to cooperate with security services and observe Covid-19 regulations at all times,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.

According to members of the Chisuma community, the deceased siblings are named Morgan Sibanda and Dumisani Mpofu.

Sources told the state media that one of the two siblings earlier had an altercation with one of the soldiers over an undisclosed issue while at the business centre.

It is also reported that the now deceased pair ganged up with some unnamed friends and confronted the soldier at the shops.

When the other soldier allegedly arrived at the scene in the midst of a scuffle involving the deceased and his colleague, villagers say, he reportedly fired shots and killed one of the civilians on the spot while the other was confirmed dead on arrival at Victoria Falls Hospital.

Since the start of the Covid19 induced national lockdown in March, there has been widespread smuggling of goods such as the interdicted skin lightening creams and illicit beer from Zambia through undesignated points on Zambezi River.

This has resulted in the Government deploying it’s security apparatus to counter the rampant smuggling activities in the Chisuma area.

state media
additional reporting: Zwnews