Bomb suspected in horror blast

HARARE - A bomb could have caused the mysterious blast that killed five people in Chitungwiza on Monday, as top security officials cordoned the area yesterday searching for clues.

Top officials from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) (homicide and law and order section), a foreign pathologist and members of the army’s bomb disposal unit have been called in to lead investigations into the Chitungwiza “house of death” explosion which has left the country in shock.

Police said they have roped in the army and have alerted cooperating foreign laboratories to be on alert for assistance as they are leaving no stone unturned.

Head of the Harare law and order and homicide sections Crispen Makedenge and Cuban pathologist Gabriella Alvero are leading the investigations in a case that police officers say is complex.

Charity Charamba, the national police spokesperson, said they have brought in their most senior and well trained experts to try and unravel the mysterious blast.

“Those people (experts) you saw today (yesterday) at the scene were called in to ascertain the real cause and we are leaving nothing to chance,” said Charamba.

In 2011, both Makedenge and Alvero led investigations into the mysterious death of the country’s celebrated war hero, Solomon Mujuru, who succumbed to unknown inferno at his farm house in Beatrice.

Tragedy struck on Monday afternoon in Chitungwiza’s Zengeza suburb where a traditional healer and four other persons were blown into pieces by a yet “inexplicable” explosion.

More than four houses were damaged by the blast that some initially attributed to black magic.

However, the presence of bomb disposal and forensic experts brings in a whole new dimension to the unravelling case and could mean that authorities suspect a bomb detonated at the house.

Tadious Chibanda, Harare police spokesperson, said investigations will include the army who have supplied their bomb disposal unit to examine the presence of a bomb and land mines.

“We have roped in Central Investigation Department (CID) homicide, law and order, special forensic unit, and among other interested parties. We have summoned all our experts to attend to this complex matter,” said Chibanda.

Top security details told the Daily News they had taken chunks of flesh and debris for laboratory test and these could be sent outside the country for further examination.

When the Daily News arrived at the scene yesterday afternoon, police and soldiers had sealed off the house which is at the centre of the mystery.

Hordes of curious Chitungwiza residents besieged the scene as they expected to get an answer to the blast.

Police maintained a heavy presence while the road leading to the house has been temporarily closed.

Swelimu Mandere father to the deceased traditional healer said his son doubled in ritual and apostolic activities, a development which makes the superstitious endorse the black magic theory.

Security officials seem to be maintaining a tight lid on how investigations are continuing.

The blast rocked Ndororo Street and caused massive damage to houses as far as a kilometre radius. - Xolisani Ncube

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