A group of men suspected to be soldiers ran amok on Saturday night and assaulted Midlands State University (MSU) students at Senga Training Centre near the University’s main campus leaving 13 of the students injured.
The suspected soldiers and the students were fighting over a woman believed to be a prostitute at a local night spot.
The incident occurred at around 8PM when a group of people purporting to be soldiers pounced on the students who were drinking beer in a canteen at Senga Training Centre which is adjacent to the institution’s main campus and started assaulting them at random with snooker cues.
Sources said MSU students had earlier had an altercation with a soldier at the Bowling Club in the city over a lady of the night and the students allegedly teamed up to assault the “soldier” before they disappeared from the scene.
Witnesses alleged that the soldier left and sought reinforcement from a local military camp before proceeding to MSU main campus in a kombi where they found some male students drinking beer at a local canteen at Senga Training Centre.
A student, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said the soldiers stormed into the bar and started assaulting students at random using snooker cues.
He said 13 of the students were injured following the assault.
“We were drinking beer at Senga Training Centre and playing snooker when a group of men who identified themselves as soldiers stormed into the bar and started assaulting us with the sticks we were using to play the game. They stated that one of them had been assaulted by unidentified men at the Bowling Club and they suspected that they were students from MSU,” said the student.
The students are now living in fear as the unidentified men allegedly returned to MSU yesterday morning and went to the China Hostels and the Training Centre canteen where they threatened to assault more students until they find the ones who beat up their colleague.
MSU Director of Information and Public Relations, Mrs Mirirai Mawere confirmed the incident saying 13 students were injured following the attack by a group of men who are suspected to be soldiers,
“We received a report that a group of men who claimed to be soldiers attacked our students at Senga Training Centre near MSU main campus while they were drinking beer at the canteen. The injured students were taken to our clinic where they received treatment,” she said.
Mrs Mawere said the matter was reported to Senga Police Station.
Zimbabwe Military Academy Chief Instructor, Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Marangisi said non of his students were reported missing at the time the incident occurred.
Lieutenant Colonel Marangisi said they received a report from MSU, the police and other State security agents alleging that a group of soldiers had assaulted students from the university.
He said they immediately conducted a head count of students and their staff which established that no one was missing.
“In any case our students are preparing for their examinations which start tomorrow (today). Those people claiming to be soldiers are trying to tarnish the image of ZMA and we are willing to assist the police and MSU to find the culprits. Whoever those people were, they are not from ZMA,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Military Academy and Thornhill Airbase are the two military camps in Gweru.