GOVERNMENT has hired seven Belarusian ballistics experts to assist in the multi-agency security team investigating the deadly Bulawayo grenade attack which occured soon after President Emmerson Mnangagwa left the stage following his address at the stage following his address at White City Stadium last month.
BY ANDREW KUNAMBURA
The number of foreign investigators assisting the local team is now 11 after government earlier engaged four Russian experts earlier this month.
They join the team after the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the military failed to get to the bottom of the matter and occasionally clashed over how to proceed with the investigations after several leads did no yield results.
A grenade went off soon after Mnangagwa and other Zanu PF leaders, including Vice-Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, left the stage following his address at the stadium on June 23 and left two security personnel dead. The blast killed Colour Sergeant Stanley Mugunzva of the Presidential Guard unit in Dzivaresekwa, Harare, who was assigned to Chiwenga and Nelson Dube, a security aide to Mohadi.
Informed government officials close to the investigation told the Zimbabwe Independent this week seven Belarusian ballistic experts jetted into the country last week and are already at work.
Mnangagwa enjoys close personal ties with senior Belarusian government officials and businesspersons who are said to have advised him to enlist the services of their experts.
According to sources close to the investigation, their brief is to examine fragments and the shell of the grenade which were collected from the scene of the explosion. At face value, this appears not very different from the same brief given to the four Russian investigators who arrived two weeks earlier.
“It looks like they are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to get to the bottom of this matter. They want to trace the origin of the device, when it was manufactured, where was it initially sold and where it was being stored until the day it ended up at White City Stadium. They think that this may help in tracking down the suspects or link those that have already been apprehended to the attack. But it is taking a lot more time and effort than initially thought,” an official close to the investigation said.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she had not been updated on the matter, which mainly involves the police’s Criminal Investigations Department.
“I have not been updated on that yet so I am a bit in the dark regarding Belarusians getting involved,” she said.
Her boss, Godwin Matanga, said he would not comment on the matter since investigations were still in progress.
“What I can say for now is that some of the suspects have been arrested. The investigations are still going on and at the end of those investigations, I will be able to give you further information on that,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from the Balarus embassy in South Africa, which also serves Zimbabwe, were unsuccessful.
Following the attack, government has been reconsidering security arrangements around Mnangagwa, with more stringent searches often bordering on harassment taking place at rallies and events he officiates.
There are no more sacred cows as even government ministers and senior Zanu PF officials who would be excused from the searching now having to be scrutinised, an indication that Mnangagwa now trusts no one. Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus and formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe.