Police reveal blast mystery

HARARE - Police have expressed alarm over the proliferation of explosives in the hands of civilians and warned members of the public to exercise caution.

Last week, a deadly blast resulted in the death of six people in Chitungwiza.

National police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, yesterday said cases involving explosives are increasing around the country with the Chitungwiza case being the latest such incident.

“People are getting excited and they are buying explosives on the belief that they contain mercury, that belief is very mistaken. Those devices are designed to explode and cause damage, injury or death,” said Charamba.

Since the explosion that razed three houses to the ground and left several families homeless nine days ago, law enforcement agents have been mum on the matter but Charamba said:  “Preliminary investigations suggest that an explosive material could have caused the blast."

“We are appealing to all of you to take heed that explosives are designed to explode, possession of explosives is illegal and they are highly dangerous and fatal,” said Charamba.

The Daily News was the first to report that an explosive, possibly a bomb, caused the horror blast in Chitungwiza.

Charamba said in less than a month, police have recorded three cases involving explosives and five people have been arrested so far.

The police confirmation that an explosive caused the Chitungwiza comes amid revelations that the five people died while fetching mercury which is contained in bombs for resell to gold miners.

Although the use of mercury in gold processing is illegal because of its toxic nature to both humans and the environment, it remains a popular product among gold dealers.

However, police said they are on high alert to curb the rush for dangerous explosives.

“Please report to the nearest police station once you have information about people selling explosives,” she said.

Earlier this month, police arrested three people after a grenade exploded at their house in Waterfalls injuring one person.

A week later, Charamba said police in Manicaland arrested two people who were trying to sell a mortar bomb to members of the public claiming that it contained mercury.

 “Those selling were alleging that the mortar bomb contained mercury which people believe fetches a lot of money on the black market and it can make them millionaires overnight. There is nothing like being a millionaire but death,” warned Charamba.

“We all need to be very cautions; members of the public should be wary of people who come to them selling explosives,” said Charamba.

Last week, the entire nation was left shell- shocked after a traditional healer Speakmore Mandere, a businessman, an infant and two others died instantly in the explosion.

A week later, another man died and the family claimed it was due to the after effects of the bomb.

The presence of a traditional healer fuelled speculation that the blast was traceable to black magic.

Police say experts from the army bomb disposal and forensic department are still examining evidence collected from the scene to get to the root cause of the explosion that shocked the entire nation. - Xolisani Ncube

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