Abducted soldier's wife petitions High Court

Published: 28 November 2018
The wife of a retired army colonel who was allegedly kidnapped at his home on Sunday, has approached the High Court seeking an order compelling the government to investigate the incident and to establish his whereabouts.

Elliot Piki, 58, was allegedly abducted by armed masked men, amid claims that he was due to testify before the official probe looking into the August 1 post-election shootings which claimed the lives of at least six civilians.

Piki was a losing candidate in the fiercely-fought Zanu-PF primary elections for Harare South — which were won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa's nephew, Tongai.

His wife, Sibongile Sarukato, has now filed an urgent court application, demanding that the State does all in its power to find her husband, including placing adverts in all State-run print and broadcast media in this regard.

In addition to this, Sarukato is also demanding that the High Court directs the State to obtain all necessary information from mobile network operators as they try to locate Piki.

She is represented by Jeremiah Bamu — a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) — and has cited Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema, Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, State Security minister Owen Ncube, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and the director general of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Isaac Moyo as respondents.

Sarukato also wants the High Court to order the setting up of a team of investigators who will work in conjunction with ZLHR lawyers to search for Piki, and to report to the Registrar of the High Court fortnightly.

"What happened to my husband is clearly unlawful. It does not qualify as an arrest. He is a victim of enforced disappearance. An arrest could not have been conducted in such a clandestine manner with face mask-clad personnel.

"If my husband was facing any criminal allegations or had been lawfully arrested, I would have been advised of his whereabouts. He would also not have been held incommunicado as is the present case. This is a clear case of kidnapping," Sarukato said.

She added that the manner in which her husband was taken smacked of sinister motives as this is what happed to pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara — who has been missing since March 9, 2015.

Sarukato said upon his abduction, Piki was bundled into an unregistered Toyota double-cab vehicle.

And as the unknown assailants were wrestling with Piki, one of them allegedly told him, "Takakuudza kuti regai kuita document rauri kuda kuita. Uri kuda kuprotector Chamisa. Chii chako (we warned you not to work on the document you are working on. You want to protect Chamisa. Who is he to you)?"

During the scuffle, one of the alleged abductors is said to have then produced a pistol and fired two shots, before pressing the firearm against her husband's ribs as he was forced into the vehicle before the car sped off.

"The State, through its security agents may have a hand in this. This is particularly so as this was not an armed robbery. He was specifically reprimanded for preparing a document for submission before the commission.

"Gunshots were fired. A gun was pointed at him and pressed against his ribs. The motor vehicle was unmarked, and is similar in many respects to the vehicles usually used by senior army officials and other security services," Sarukato further alleged in her papers.

Piki's alleged abduction comes at a time when the international community is keenly following the killings Commission of Inquiry that was appointed by Mnangagwa in September, to probe the deadly post-election violence which left at least six civilians dead.

The alleged abduction has also since sparked immense anger among opposition and rights groups — who say that the incident is yet another blot on President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government, which is desperate to shake off the negative State image that was a permanent feature of former leader Robert Mugabe's administration.

Meanwhile, the main opposition MDC claims that Piki had submitted a "damning document" to the killings probe which exposed both Zanu-PF and the government on the August 1 shootings.

"The MDC condemns the continued use of force, violence and abductions by the State.

"This modus operandi reminds us of the chilling abduction and disappearance of ... Dzamara over four years ago. Up to this day, we have not seen or heard from him," the party said in a statement.
- dailynews
Tags: Soldier,


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