HARARE – Following a series of murders in Domboshawa’s Chinamhora area, villagers are now victims of a police clampdown as investigations into the ritual killings intensify.
Police have descended on the communal lands and have mounted check points on roads leading to Domboshawa.
In the villages, police who patrol during the nights are also arbitrarily arresting people who move in packs and without identification papers.
Scores of villagers who spoke to the Daily News said they are now victims.
“The police have descended heavily in the area, and beating up people who they find moving in the area, and they ask for your identification papers and if you are not in possession of them you will be in trouble. And if you do not respond to their questions to their satisfaction, you will also get a good beating,” said one villager who refused to be identified.
In the past two weeks, seven people have been found dead in the area. Some of them had their eyes gouged out, while others had their genitals sliced off.
This has prompted the police, who are joined by soldiers to move in and declare a night curfew.
Soldiers doing sentry work in Chinamhora are drawn from the Presidential Guard Unit which is located in the area.
Because of its proximity to Harare, many Chinamhora residents commute to the capital for work and return home after dark.
Mashonaland East provincial police spokesperson Bulisani Bhebhe confirmed the police were patrolling the area to investigate murder cases but denied that police were victimising villagers.
“It is not true the police are beating villagers. The police are doing their work but if anyone is beaten by the police they know where to report these matters rather than go to the press.
“There is a lot of misformation in the press about these murder cases,” said Bhebhe.