MUTARE – Police in Mutare on Thursday reportedly threatened to unleash dogs on people milling around the usually densely populated Sakubva market and terminus after they allegedly defied the government directive to stay home during the 21-day lockdown period that came into effect on Monday.
Investigations by Zim Morning Post revealed that city residents, most of them believed to be vendors and informal traders, had earlier been warned by the police to go back to their homes, but they refused and continued going about their businesses.
The police later returned with dogs and threatened to unleash them on the lockdown defiers.
Upon seeing the police dog unit, the alleged renegades made good their escape, running all-around the market and terminus areas.
One person who claimed to have witnessed the event said: “They came with dogs and told us to leave the area or they would unleash the vicious dogs on us.”
He added: “I need money to sustain myself so l have to sell something whenever I can.”
Police in Mutare confirmed that they would use whatever force to make people comply with the lockdown directive.
“We have made arrests here and there. But generally, the people in Manicaland have obeyed the lockdown directive,” Police Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa said.
In Mutare, police have also intensified efforts to have lockdown adhered to by mounting roadblocks at all the major roads.
Massive screening processes on travellers have been put in place not only in Mutare but also across the country.
Those without passes and those that would have failed to explain their movements asked to go back to where they would have come from.
Government has come up with a number of regulations aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 that has so far resulted in one death from eight positive cases.
Since Monday, a national lockdown was effected amid hopes that the restriction on movement would reduce contact between people and stifle the growing contagion.