Presidential Guard "Viciously" Attacks Bulawayo Children, Accuses Them Of Being MDC-T Supporters
The presidential Guard in Zimbabwe, with their distinctive yellow berets, are notorious for assaulting drivers who do not get out of Mugabe's way fast enough and getting away scot-free. They have now attacked a home for former Street Children in Bulawayo, some of whom sustained internal injuries. When police opened dockets against them, the soldiers started intimidating the policemen responsible! As usual, above you can see Mugabe whistling to himself as he inspects a guard of honour. He does this every time he inspects any sort of Guard presented to him. It is a sort of charm, apparently.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 09 November 2009
Soldiers of the Presidential Guard attacked 41 former school children at Thuthuka Centre in Bulawayo last week, accusing them of being MDC-T supporters, according to a report from The Standard's Bulawayo reporters.
The attack was described by authorities at the school as "vicious" and it came about as a result of a misunderstanding over a girl.
Two boys from a nearby suburb apparently followed a girl at the Centre whom they were interested in, but the girl raised the alarm, telling her friends at the Centre (a school for former street kids) of the boys' intentions.
Older boys at the Centre came out to engage the two boys and a fight broke out. What they did not know was that the two boys' brother was a soldier staying at the Presidential Guard camp nearby.
When the two boys were overpowered, they apparently took refuge in their brother's house. The brother, seeing twelve boys massed by his door, called for reinforcements from his fellow soldiers, telling them that his house was under attack from MDC-Tsvangirai supporters.
Twenty soldiers showed up minutes later at the Centre.
"They did not try to understand what happened, " said Mqhele Mlupi, the Thuthuka Centre Manager, "they beat up all the kids at the centre, including staff members."
"They used all sorts of things, rifle butts, booted feet, logs and anything they could lay their hands on. They took some of the children away and beat them up some more before releasing them. All the 41 were savagely beaten up but about 11 sustained serious injuries."
The soldiers are also said to have randomly attacked people on their way back to their back. Most of these attacks were in Saurstown, which is near the Bulawayo State House.
Unbelievably, the soldiers who had done this then ran off to the police and reported that the children from the Centre had attacked their camp. When the police heard and saw the children against whom these charges were being laid, they opened dockets on the soldiers instead. The Presidential Guard soldiers are now being accused of threatening death and destruction against the police officers who opened those dockets.
The police confirm that some of the beaten children sustained serious internal injuries.
The Presidential Guard in Zimbabwe is notorious for their impunity. If anyone so much as hesitates to move out of the way of Mugabe's motorcade, for instance, they are sure to get a beating. Old women drivers and mothers with their children in their cars are only some of the people that are known to have been beaten up for not showing proper respect to the Presidential motorcade.
So powerful is the Presidential Guard, in fact, that even Ministers are known to have been manhandled if they put a foot wrong in the presence of the president or his guards.