The soldier who emptied a loaded magazine into the air this week was among nine others who had requested to be allowed to resign from the army, but their resignation letters were torn up by a named army boss and they were ordered to remain in the force.
This was revealed in a report by the Daily News, which said the sentinel was only apprehended by his colleagues as he was reloading the gun to fire yet another magazine.
The incident, which the publication only identified as “Private Mugadu”, is said to have been sent to psychiatric evaluation, but under detention.
“Without any warning, the soldier pumped 30 shots into the air, sending many people into a panic before some brave soldiers close to him managed to apprehend him as he was reloading his gun.
“The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon and I understand that the soldier is currently detained. The young man has a troubled history and once said he wanted to leave after serving three years, because it is allowed in the army.
“In fact, there were ten of them who wanted who wanted to do so at the time, who took their letters to Commanding Officer Samson Murombo – who, however, allegedly tore up the letters,” the publication wrote, quoting an unnamed source.
The report further says after after the shooting incident, Mugadu was taken to his superior Brigadier-General Mhonda, but the two engaged in a fist fight as Mugadu accused his superiors of living large while the rank and file of the force were wallowing in poverty.
“As of yesterday (Thursday), he had stopped cooperating and demanded to see the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) or the Defence Forces Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda.
“He has a history of mental health challenges which were detected when he was only 15. He also has a 23-year-old brother who is afflicted by the same mental health issues,” the source said.
The source further said Mugadu declared that even if he was silenced, there were many other soldiers in the army who were in a troubling economic situation as him.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, said he could not comment until he got details of what exactly transpired.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson Overson Mugwisi said he could not comment on the incident as it fell under the Zimbabwe National Army.
Two weeks ago, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri warned that the situation in the army was dire. Speaking while addressing a pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls, Muchinguri-Kashiri said soldiers sacrifice a lot and could not be allowed to beg for food.
“We are expected to host other defence forces but noone wants to come here because of these conditions. We can’t beg for food for soldiers. These are people who sacrifice a lot for the nation.
“We need food rations… We are expected to give 30 rations to the soldiers but at the moment we are only able to give them 10. You can identify a Zimbabwean soldier by their worn-out uniform,” she said.SEND US FEEDBACK: firstname.lastname@example.org OR, better still, CLICK HERE TO JOIN ONE OF OUR WHATSAPP GROUPS for the latest news!