Zimbabwe’s military and police were responsible for killing six people when they intervened to stop post-election protests in the capital in August, according to a report by a commission of inquiry released on Tuesday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the findings and recommendations of the report at a press conference.

The use of live ammunition, whips and gun butts on protesters was unjustifiable, said the report, but it said the deployment of the military was lawful and “unavoidable” to protect property and lives after the police had been overwhelmed by protesters.

Soldiers and police found to have broken their codes of conduct should face “internal” disciplinary measures, the report recommended.

The protests were “pre-planned and orchestrated” and opposition leaders had incited violence, the report found.

Military generals who appeared before the commission in November flatly denied that soldiers were responsible for the deaths, including some who were shot in the back.

The incident happened on August 1, when armed soldiers were deployed in the capital, Harare, to suppress a protest against delays in announcing the results of Zimbabwe’s first elections without former ruler Robert Mugabe.

Gunfire erupted and six people were killed. Mnangagwa set up a commission of inquiry, headed by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, to probe the killings.

Mnangagwa said that his government will study the report before deciding on its next steps.

Source : News24

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