Wife of Abducted Former Soldier Withdraws Court Application after Being Located

Wife of Abducted Former Soldier Withdraws Court Application after Being Located

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THE wife of a missing retired member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) on Wednesday 28 November 2018 withdrew an application she filed early this week seeking an order compelling Zimbabwean authorities to account for the whereabouts of her husband after he was found dumped in Mashonaland Central province.

Piki’s wife Sibongile Sarukato had on Monday 26 November 2018 filed an urgent habeas corpus application on behalf of her husband Retired Lieutenant Colonel Elliot Piki seeking an order compelling the State to do all things necessary to determine his whereabouts after he was abducted by some unknown assailants on Sunday 25 November 2018.

Sarukato, who was represented by Jeremiah Bamu and Obey Shava of Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, who are members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, asked the High Court to order the setting up of a team of investigators, to work closely and in conjunction with lawyers appointed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to search for Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki at all places within Zimbabwe as may be reasonably practical, and report on such search to the Registrar of the High Court, on every alternate Friday.

She also wanted the respondents, who included Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Defence and War Veterans Minister, State Security Minister, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General and the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation to be ordered to inquire from, and where necessary obtain any such information as may be necessary for the investigations from mobile service operators to try and locate Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki through tracing the mobile numbers that were on his person at the time of his abduction as may be provided by his family.

But on Wednesday 28 November 2018, Sarukato withdrew the application and told High Court Judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu that Piki was located**found in Mashonaland Central province on**** after his assailants dumped him after abducting him from his Harare home and interrogating him over his**motives**intention for electing to give evidence**testifying before the Commission of Inquiry probing the 2018 post-election violence.

On Tuesday 27 November 2018, Piki failed to testify before the Commission of Inquiry after the Kgalema Mothlanthe-led probe team said it had completed hearing all evidence from witnesses.

In the court application, Sarukato said Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki was kidnapped by some unknown assailants on Sunday 25 November 2018 at around 1630 hours from his Waterfalls suburb residence in Harare.

Sarukato said the manner in which her husband was taken betrays sinister motives as he was taken in similar style and fashion to pro-democracy campaigner Itai Dzamara, who still remains missing since 9 March 2015.

She said her husband was abducted by some unidentified people, who were wearing face masks, who bundled him into an unregistered Toyota double-cab vehicle. During the tussling with the unidentified men as they abducted him, Sarukato stated that one of the abductors tersely said to him in vernacular,”…takakuudza kuti regai kuita document rauri kuda kuita, uri kuda ku protector Chamisa, chii chako?” which she loosely translated to mean,”…we warned you not to work on the document you are working on, you want to protect Chamisa, who is he to you?”

Sarukato said as the unidentified men continued to wrestle and tussle with her husband, one of the assailants produced a pistol and fired two shots which lodged into the ground and the firearm was then pressed against her husband ribs and he was forced into the vehicle before they sped away.

She said her husband’s whereabouts are presently unknown and his security of person and right to life is therefore at serious risk and in real jeopardy.

According to Sarukato, a report has been filed with ZRP under RRB 3784040.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki was scheduled to appear on Monday 26 November 2018 before the Commission of Inquiry into the 2018 post-election violence, which is currently conducting public hearings in Harare to present his testimony.

Sarukato charged that she is convinced that the motive behind her husband’s abduction was to prevent him from giving his testimony before the Commission of Inquiry.

On Monday 26 November 2018, Bamu wrote to the Commission of Inquiry notifying the probe team of the abduction of Retired Lieutenant Colonel Piki and indicated that he could no longer appear before it to testify as he is now a victim of enforced disappearance.

ENDS

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