Four arrested in Zimbabwe bomb plot
Police in Zimbabwe have arrested four men, including two soldiers, on charges of plotting to bomb President Robert Mugabe’s dairy outside Harare, according to reports on Tuesday.
The four appeared under heavy police guard at the Harare Magistrates' Court on Monday on charges of “possession of weaponry for sabotage and money laundering for terrorism purposes,” the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.
The Herald reported the four were members of a “fringe political party” called the Zimbabwe People’s Front (ZPF).
The men allegedly planned to detonate four petrol bombs at the Gushungo Dairy processing plant in Mazowe, north of Harare, on Friday.
Mugabe and his wife Grace own the multi-million-dollar dairy and processing plant where they produce milk, ice cream, chocolate and other products. Detectives reportedly got wind of the men's plans and arrested them on Friday morning.
They were allegedly found in possession of four 750ml brandy bottles containing petrol, ammonium nitrate, nails, and sand.
Party documents, including the ZPF manifesto and constitution were also seized.
Media analyst and blogger Zim Media Review said: “So these guys went to bomb Gushungo Dairy while also carrying their party manifesto and constitution?”
The four were named as ZPF president Owen Kuchata, Borman Ngwenya, Solomon Makumbe, and Silas Pfupa.
Ngwenya was reportedly a member of the Zimbabwe National Army’s 1 Field Regiment, and Makumbe a member of the Zimbabwe Intelligence Corps.
Harare Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe postponed the case to February 8. Opposition politician and veteran rights lawyer, David Coltart said the story smacked of the “pseudo-activity” witnessed in Zimbabwe from time to time in the past 40 years.
“One questions whether there is any political motive behind this,” Coltart told News24 in a telephone interview.
Similar activities were used as a pretext to crack down on the MDC in the past. The latest alleged plot could be linked to power struggles within Zanu-PF, he said.
“It’s far too early, with any confidence, to point fingers at any political faction (being behind it),” he said
The Herald is overwhelmingly loyal to Mugabe, but not to every senior Zanu-PF official.