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Tension remains high after Insiza clashes

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi last week said the law enforcement agents had been deployed to maintain order in the area.

TENSION remains high in Matabeleland South’s Insiza district after marauding machete gangs invaded villages last week  where they attacked people over a mining  claim dispute.

A number of villagers were left nursing injuries following the unprovoked attacks and police officers in the area are accused of taking sides with the machete gang members.

Villagers have now petitioned the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to immediately transfer the Filabusi officer-in-charge only identified as Mathuthu after they accused him of directing his subordinates to side with the gang members.

There are fears that the cops were bribed.

On Friday, an emergency meeting was held in Insiza between the police, villagers and traditional leaders to calm the situation as tempers boiled over with villagers threatening to fight back in equal measure.

During the tense meeting, villagers demanded that a notorious miner, Brian Zinyama, be stopped from operating in the area as they accused him of bringing the machete gangs to unleash violence in a bid to grab their land.

The villagers threatened to take action against him if he was not stopped from operating in the area.

A villager, who claimed she was a widow, said she feared for her life.

“I will be forced to leave this place as long as Zinyama is here,” she said.

Another woman said her son was seriously beaten by the police for fighting back against the machete gang members.

“I do not believe that the police officers, who beat up my son are here (during the meeting), because on that day I even wanted to manhandle them for beating my son for no reason,” she said.

“They even threatened to shoot me and I told them they must do what they want.

"Police officers abused us on that day.”

She said the police failed to quell the violence at Theleka when the machete gang invaded the area last Monday.

Instead, it is alleged that the police went on to vent their frustration on villagers.

Another villager appealed for the transfer of the current Filabusi officer-in-charge to quell tensions.

“Authorities must deploy another officer, who will guarantee our peace and security,” the villager said

“A gun was pointed at my daughter by the police who failed to apprehend the machete gang members, but arrested innocent people.”

Chief Ndube promised to engage higher authorities in government and ZRP over the matter.

Insiza police arrested six people in connection with the public violence.

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi last week said the law enforcement agents had been deployed to maintain order in the area.

Theleka villagers said the violence was fuelled by a group of alleged machete gangs, who invaded the area and abused locals.

The villagers said they were living in fear after the gang threatened to burn down their thatched huts.

Some villagers have fled their homes and have vowed to return when tensions calm down.

“I think there are seven cases of people, who are admitted at central hospital after they were attacked by the gang,” one villager said.

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