FIVE Marondera men who were part of protesters that destroyed a police station, were on Friday sentenced to a combined 30 years in jail by magistrate Pasipanodya Maturure, who found them guilty of public violence charges.

Tinashe Bwanasi (25), Trust Nyamano (34), Rashid Marufu (38), Collen Paison (41) and Tafara Mapfunde (48) were sentenced to six years in jail each before 12 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour. They will, however, each serve an effective five-year jail term.

The five were part of the 18 protesters arrested last month for wreaking havoc in the town during protests that were triggered by fuel price hikes.

The courts acquitted 13 accused persons due to lack of evidence.

According to court papers, on January 15, at around 11am, the convicts connived with their accomplices, gathered at corner Nyaguwe and Chikomo Drive, Dombotombo in Marondera.

They barricaded the road with stones and started burning tyres while throwing stones at police officers on deployment.

They broke into the police station and ransacked all the three station offices, destroying furniture, records and stole property including, cellphones, riot shields, helmets, handheld radios, a base station radio, baton sticks, an HP laptop, cash, riot suits, tearsmoke canisters and bicycles.

They also assaulted police officers on duty, but were later arrested by police reinforcements as they were running away from the crime scene.

The total value of the damaged and stolen property was put at $30 000.

John Hama and Rumbidzai Katsande represented the State.Herald