Top ED guards in shock arrest… as they are accused of engaging in grisly ‘maShurugwi’ mine violence
POLICE have arrested three members of the elite Presidential Guard, as well as a former broadcaster, after they allegedly assaulted villagers and tried to forcefully take over a gold mine in Mt Darwin, the Daily News reports.
This comes as authorities have launched a crackdown against machete-wielding gangs across the country’s mining belts — following a surge in grisly crimes there which came to the fore late last year after a policeman was killed in a barbaric attack in Kadoma.
It also comes at a time when cases of indiscipline within the security sector are worryingly on the increase — with military commanders said to be threatening to deal decisively with all rogue members who bring the image of the armed forces into disrepute.
Yesterday, police said they had arrested three members of the Presidential Guard, as well as a former ZBC staffer — Musorowegomo Mukosi (41) — over recent violence in Mt Darwin, after they allegedly attempted to grab a gold mine there.
Police named Blessmore Tembo (32), Gilbert Charuma (31) and Liberty Munemo (31) as the nabbed members of the Presidential Guard — after they and Mukosi allegedly bludgeoned 15 villagers at the gold-rich Chin Mine in the district.
“We can confirm the arrest of Musorowegomo Mukosi on assault charges at Chin Mine in Mount Darwin along with three others.
“However, we are still investigating the allegations that they are members of the Presidential Guard.
“They will be appearing in court any day from today (yesterday) after investigations have been concluded,” national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi told the Daily News.
It has also emerged that Mukosi was wielding an unsecured firearm while his co-accused assaulted the complainants in the matter.
As a result, Mukosi will face an additional charge related to possessing the firearm.
But this latest arrest of soldiers and others before that have brought to the fore the growing incidence of rising indiscipline in the army in particular, as the country’s economic challenges continue to bite.
Speaking at a recent prize-giving ceremony at 5 Brigade, Major-General Hlanganani Dube also pointed out that the rate of indiscipline in the army was of great concern.
“I strongly feel obliged to express the command element’s concern over repeated acts of indiscipline by some of our members.
“We continue to experience an increase in the number of members involved in crimes committed both within and outside the organisation.
“Such acts of indiscipline must end immediately,” Dube said then.
“Severe punishments will always be applied for any deviation from our set standards.
“The ZNA (Zimbabwe National Army) will always strive for the best in the aspect of discipline to maintain its reputation which is envied by many in the region and beyond,” he said further.
This comes as the government has been grappling with a deluge of cases of machete gangs robbing and killing innocent people in gold belts — in dastardly acts that have grabbed the attention of both rights groups and the international community.
Amid the growing pressure to act mercilessly on the machete killers, authorities have launched several operations — including conducting raids on the makers and sellers of the dangerous pangas.
At first, the machete-related crimes were linked to illegal gold panners only, but have since the turn of the year also involved robbers who have adopted the same primitive criminal methods to rob people of their valuables in their homes.
Meanwhile, police say the on-going Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere (illegal gold mining should end) has so far led to the arrest of more than 2 000 machete-wielding criminals.
Nyathi said the illegal miners who were arrested were mainly from Jumbo Mine and Stories Mine in Mashonaland Central.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to warn machete gangs that they will only have themselves to blame should they continue to harass and terrorise the innocent public.
“Police would like to assure the public that we are firmly on the ground to deal with all criminal elements,” Nyathi said.
The arrests came at a time that police have also declared Jumbo Mine a no-go area, in a bid to deal with the problem of illegal miners.
The mine was closed by its owners, Metallon Gold, in 2018, resulting in an influx of artisanal miners from across the country — with hordes of vendors and commercial sex workers also invading the area to cash in on United States dollars which are said to be awash there.
Last year, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe called for the total closure of the mine until sanity prevailed — saying the machete-wielding gangs were causing mayhem in surrounding areas.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has also said the government is mulling the introduction of a shoot-to-kill policy — in a desperate bid to end the barbaric attacks perpetrated by the machete gangs.
On his part, Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said that the courts will mete out heavy sentences to those convicted of the dastardly panga crimes — to send a strong message to the machete gangs.