Nyazura farm family forced to flee after mob attack

A farming family in Nyazura has been forced to flee their home on Friday, after an attack by a mob of land invaders.

The Smit family from De Rust farm has been fighting their illegal eviction from the property the whole week, after a self-confessed CIO agent called Onisious Makwengura, plus a gang of thugs, started harassing and intimidating the family.

Makwengura and his gang have vandalised property on the farm and threatened the Smit family, insisting he is acting under the orders of top police officials and the Manicaland governor.

But the situation turned very ugly on Friday after farm owner Koos Smit was arrested. SW Radio Africa was told that Makwengura gave police a false statement saying Smit had assaulted him. Smit was arrested and held at Nyazura police station on assault charges for most of Friday morning.

While he was being detained, Makwengura and his gang broke into the De Rust farmhouse, where Smit’s wife, Mary Anne and two sons, Michael and Adriaan, were taking shelter. The mob then started trashing the house, in an effort to get the rest of the Smit family to leave.

The Smit sons in defence, fired gun shots into the air as a warning. But the shots prompted Makwengura and a fellow invader to draw their own weapons and threaten the Smits. The Smit sons then fired a number of rounds into the floor, in an attempt to keep the mob away from them and their mother.

While this was happening a neighbour, hearing the gun shots, called the police who rushed back to the farm. But when they got there they did not arrest any of the land invaders and instead took away the Smit’s weapons and told them to flee. The police apparently said they could not guarantee their safety and said they would be killed if they remained.

The family was allowed to leave with only one vehicle and a suitcase each. Makwengura apparently refused to let them take anything else, saying he was keeping the remaining vehicles as “compensation” for the damage inside the farmhouse.

Koos Smit was later released from Nyazura police station after his family was run off the property. They are now the third family in the district to be forced off their property in this manner. A fourth farmer has negotiated a 30 day period to ‘voluntarily’ leave his farm.

A source told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the Smit family, along with the Grobler family who were also evicted from their property by Makwengura, are seeking urgent outside intervention. The source explained that both families have been left with nothing, and all they want is justice to prevail.

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