ONE of the two men who was allegedly part of a group of rogue protestors who stoned a police officer to death during violent demonstrations in Bulawayo has skipped bail and is now on the run.
Charles Thomas (54) of Njube suburb was last month granted $100 bail by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo together with his alleged accomplice Bernard Sibanda (18) of New Lobengula.
They were ordered to reside at their given addresses and not interfere with State witnesses as part of the bail conditions.
They were also ordered to report at Bulawayo Central Police Station (CID Law and Order Section) twice a week.
The accused persons are facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Constable Alexio Maune (32).
Thomas was supposed to appear before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Franklin Mkhwananzi on Monday for routine remand pending trial at the High Court and he defaulted.
Mr Mkhwananzi has since issued a warrant of for Thomas arrest.
Thomas and Sibanda allegedly stoned Cst Maune in January while he was on duty in Njube suburb.
Cst Maune, who was based at Entumbane Police Station, died on the following day on admission to the United Bulawayo Hospitals after being left for dead by the violent protestors.
The late cop was one of a number of people who lost their lives during the protests that saw shops being looted and roads being barricaded.
In their bail statements, Thomas and Sibanda are denying the charge, arguing that the allegations were unsubstantiated.
They also disputed the assertion by the State that they were likely to abscond or endanger the safety of the public if granted bail.
The State, which was represented by Mr Nqobizitha Ndlovu, had opposed bail, arguing that there was no guarantee that the pair would not abscond if released on bail due to the gravity of the alleged offence.
According to court papers, on January 14, Thomas and Sibanda were among a group of protestors who were unleashing violence, looting shops and barricading main roads with stones, when they spotted Cst Maune while on duty in police uniform.
They confronted the now-deceased and started attacking him. The court heard that Cst Maune fled and sought refuge behind a house in Njube.
Sibanda picked up a stone and struck Cst Maune on the head before Thomas and other protestors who are still at large apprehended him.
The accused persons and their accomplices allegedly grabbed the deceased and pinned him down while Thomas continuously hit him with a stone as he lay helplessly on the ground.
After allegedly attacking Cst Maune, they fled from the scene leaving him for dead with blood gushing out of a wound.
They proceeded with their public violence spree and Cst Maune was taken to the UBH where he succumbed to the injuries on the following day