Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
ONLY one machete gang is still to be accounted for as all the others have been arrested across the country, the Minister of State for National Security in the President’s Office, Owen Ncube has said.
There has been an increase in cases of marauding gangs attacking and robbing people using machetes in the country in recent months.
Of late, the gangs have also been targeting law enforcement agents and recently a terror gang killed a police officer in Kadoma, Mashonaland West province.
Police responded by launching operations targeting the gangs, especially in mining areas and banning the carrying of dangerous weapons that include machetes in public.
Responding to a question posed by Senator Bekithemba Mpofu in the Senate last week on what his Ministry is doing about the machete-wielding gangs as they are a security threat, Minister Ncube said the issue of machete gangs is being dealt with.
“I would like to thank the Hon Member for asking such a pertinent question. The issue of MaShurugwi has been dealt with. I think we are only left to account for one group. All the other groups have been arrested. They have appeared in court and some of them have been sentenced. I thank you,” said Minister Ncube.
According to Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Deputy Minister Michael Madiro at least 35 people were killed and 15 women were raped in the last 13 months by the machete-wielding gangs.
A total of 382 people were assaulted and 225 robberies were recorded during the same period
“Throughout the country, from January 2019 to date, a total of 35 murders, 225 robberies, 382 assaults and 15 rape cases were committed by machete-wielding gangsters. However, there are numerous ongoing measures in all the provinces aimed at containing violent crimes perpetrated by artisanal miners,” Deputy Minister Madiro told Parliament last week.
He said police have stepped up efforts and launched a massive operation code named “Isitsheketsha kasiphele/Chikorokoza Ngachipere/ and No to Machete Gangs whose activities he blamed on lack of order within the country’s mines.
Cde Madiro said a National Task Force led by the ZRP Support Unit has since been set up, targeting one province at a time.
He said so far Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Mashonaland East have been cleared of illegal panners.