Asked for comment, Harare police spokesperson James Sabau requested for time to find out what had transpired but his mobile phone was unreachable later in the day.
Munn Marketing distribution manager Tonderai Charamba said the suspects were part of a group of people who were toyi-toying in town ahead of the anti-sanctions campaign launch at the Zanu PF Harare provincial offices.
Munn Marketing are the distributors of NewsDay, The Standard and The Independent.
“While on their way, they confiscated copies of NewsDay and other newspapers in our stable. The agents who were affected phoned me and I advised them to make a report to the police because it was a political matter,” he said.
“They reported the matter, and on the way out of the police station, a vendor whose papers had been taken spotted the man who had taken her newspapers being brought into the police station by plainclothes police officers. Apparently, he had been spotted by the police officers snatching recharge cards from airtime vendors,” he said.
Charamba said at least five vendors lost their newspapers to the group.
He said one of the suspects claimed he was a civil servant and was on Monday begging for forgiveness on the grounds that he would lose his job if he was taken to court.
The suspect was, however, advised to pay for the newspapers he tore for charges to be dropped.
Alpha Media Holdings chief executive officer Raphael Khumalo commended the police for taking action.
“I think the police need to be commended for the splendid work,” said Khumalo.
“We have reported such matters before but no action was taken so we are glad that this time they have acted. We hope it’s not a flash in the pan and that they will continue executing their duty professionally.”
NewsDay editor Brian Mangwende said he was disgusted, to say the least, by the behaviour of those bent on stifling the media while depriving readers of information.
“Tearing of newspapers in a democratic society leaves a lot to be desired,” Mangwende said.
“Those responsible should face the music. The arrests show the police did not sit on their laurels, but did the professional and honourable thing by apprehending the misguided elements of society. We commend the police for a job well done.”