BY REX MPHISA
A BEITBRIDGE police detective Sergeant Sikhelele Ncube has said the killing of Abel Gumbo, a known tout at the border town who was shot by police in Lutumba in May this year, was a mistake as he was not linked to any robbery.
He was testifying on Thursday at a Beitbridge Regional Court where Elvis Mudau (46), Exile Kwinika (18), Tichaona Muvembi (32) Sikhumbuzo Mudzviti (29) and Joana Phiri (41) were facing three counts of armed robbery that occurred in May.
Gumbo was shot soon after assisting a woman to get her goods from a bus.
The five accused are on trial and are denying the robbery charges. They also denied having any links with the late Gumbo who was shot by an assistant inspector in plainclothes.
The cop is yet to be charged, let alone arrested seven months after the shooting incident on May 27 this year.
He was transferred to another station in what relatives believe were efforts to ensure the case dies a natural death.
The State alleges that the now deceased Gumbo was part of the gang of robbers, while the accused’s lawyer, Muchihwande Sithole of Chauke and Associates is of the view that Mudau, Kwinika, Mudzviti, Phiri and Muvembi are being sacrificed by the police to justify Gumbo’s killing.
Sithole asked the police to explain if they gathered evidence that Gumbo was a robber after killing him.
“We could not link him and we did not recover anything from him, but it is impolite to say he was killed by police,” Ncube said.
When further asked by Sithole if the weapon used to kill Gumbo was taken for ballistics, Ncube refused to respond to the issue saying the enquiry was on Gumbo’s death.
“A pellet gun was found and is said to belong to Gumbo,” Ncube said.
Muvembi’s lawyer, Jabulani Mzinyathi of Garikayi and Company applied for discharge at the end of the State case.
He said his client was not at the scene of the crime and the police failed to probe his alibi as is required at law.
The State is expected to respond to Muvembi’s application this week.
Regional magistrate Innocent Bepura is presiding while Claudious Karinga is prosecuting.
Meanwhile Gumbo’s relatives who were turned away by police on several occasions when they sought justice, have been following the trial.