A HEAVY exchange of gunfire erupted in the usually serene Mt Pleasant suburb in Harare yesterday as security details at the home of former Zanu PF national political commissar, retired Lieu-tenant-General Engelbert Rugeje in the early hours of Sunday, engaged in a fierce two-hour gun battle with unknown assailants at the luxurious property.
Efforts to get a comment from the police were unsuccessful but sources said the dead person was with a Zanu PF youth membership card.
The Herald reports that the intruders were beaten back by security personnel on duty in an attempted armed robbery case.
The incident was confirmed by police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi who said the “criminals” took advantage of the darkness since there was no electricity in the area for some hours. He said:
These were purely criminals. There was an exchange of gunfire that left one person dead at Lt-General Engelbert Rugeje’s (Rtd) residence in Mt Pleasant, Harare, involving security personnel and seven suspected criminals in the morning.
Nyathi also said more information will be released as soon as police are done with the investigations which are already underway.
The two-hour shooting incident involved security details and unknown people at the upmarket Mt Pleasant home along Cheshire Road.
Rugeje is reported not to be at home when the shooting incident happened in the early hours of Sunday.
Opposition politician, Jealousy Mawarire also confirmed the shooting.
“Zanu PF youth membership card, suspected to be of one of the intruders at Gen Rugeje house, found after fatal gunfire exchange with alleged armed robbers. Zanu PF and lawlessness are Siamese twins,” said.
The shooting took place when temperatures in the ruling party are rising as the party prepares for its district coordinating committee (DCC) elections and the pending parliamentary and local government elections.
Last week, police in Kwekwe had to fire warning shots and teargas to disperse hundreds of warring Zanu PF members gathered at party offices for primary elections to select Kwekwe Central candidate to contest in parliamentary by-elections.