MASVINGO- Shebeen operators Masvingo City teamed up to assault a Newzimbabwe.com reporter Tonderai Saharo, accusing him of exposing their illegal operations to the authorities in Runyararo West during the 21 days of Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Saharo who was in his line of duty investigating reports of Shebeens operating at night, evading law enforcement agents in residential areas was assaulted all over the body with stones and open fists by brothers Clive and John Taru who operate one of the shebeens in Runyararo West.
They identified the reporter as one of the undercovers informing the Police about their illegal operations and charged at him and began to assault him until he started bleeding profusely while crying for help.The matter was reported to the Police and they are still carrying out investigations.
The illegal alcohol selling point by 8pm had over 15 imbibers stashed in the backyard, while more were still tricking in breaking all the social distancing orders which are necessary to combat the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus which has ravaged the world with over 2million confirmed cases and 154 386 deaths so far.
As a result of the assault the journalist sustained head injuries and had to seek medical assistance at Masvingo Provincial Hospital.
“They first confronted me while I was talking to other people at the place soon after my arrival, sensing danger I excused myself and headed for the toilet as I was about to leave I was followed inside and one of the owners pinned me on the wall while the other used stones to strike me on the forehead.
“I had to wrestle them out of the toilet and other patrons at the place then intervened after realising I was now bleeding profusely,” Saharo said.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalist vice president Godfrey Mutimba condemned the assault and urged the authorities to speed up their investigations and bring the culprits to book.
“We condemn in the strongest of terms the assault of our member who was in the line of duty.
“These violations of media freedoms will never be tolerated and we call upon authorities to protect journalists especially at this particular time of fighting the spread of Covid-19.
“Journalist play a critical role in informing and educating the nation on the impact of the pandemic that has wrecked the world,” Mutimba said.