Zhombe (New Ziana) -Police in the Midlands province have urged owners of bottle stores and other beer outlets to adhere to stipulated opening hours to curb cases of violence, robberies and murders involving gangs wielding machetes.
A machete is a large wide knife used for cutting sugarcane and underbrush, and as a weapon.
in 2019 Zimbabwe experienced a wave of machete gang violence across the country with mostly artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) areas such as Kadoma, Kwekwe, Shurugwi and Zishavane in the Midlands province being the hardest hit.
The gangs, who were terrorizing mostly mining communities and were also spreading into urban areas, were robbing people of cash, gold and ore, murdering, raping, viciously assaulting people, breaking into houses and stealing livestock.
Police had to launch an operation dubbed “Chikorokoza ngachipere/ Isitsheketsha kasiphele and No to machete gangs” to end the reign of terror, arresting more than 70 000 people during the nationwide crack down.
The government also set up specialised courts in the most affected areas to speedily try those accused of the crimes, while Parliament was about to launch an inquiry into the origins of the anarchy, but was prevented by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Speaking during an anti-stock-theft meeting at Joel Growth Point recently, provincial police commander Assistant Commissioner Tedious Madondo said criminal activities by machete gangs were rising in the province, especially in Zhombe, Silobela and Gokwe areas.
“The gangs are causing violence at beer halls, stealing people’s valuables and breaking into people’s houses and shops,” he said.
Ass Com Madondo warned the marauding gangs that the long arm of the law would soon catch up with them.
“We urge members of the public not to entertain machete gangs or those with any other dangerous weapons in their areas. The public should report such people at their nearest police station,” he said.
He said drug and substance abuse were contributing to the increase in criminal activities, as those who used them would not be in their normal senses.