Govt to close Chingwizi?

The authorities are planning to close Chingwizi transit camp. Riot police and soldiers are camped there while many of the 12,000 victims of flooding in February are living in the bush following weekend riots that saw two government vehicles reduced to ashes as the victims resist relocation before being paid compensation.

Government sources said that authorities would want the camp closed before the start of this year's rainy season.

The situation remains tense as government beefs up security personnel amid reports that the state now wants all the families to be forcibly resettled and close the holding camp. Truckloads of riot police officers and troops continue to be deployed in the area to quell disturbances as the villagers have vowed to stay put despite pressure.

At least 300 people were arrested in connection with the torching of the vehicles. Police plan to charge them with arson or malicious injury to property.

Masvingo provincial affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti refused to give details on the goings on at the camp.

"We are prepared to die here because we have nothing in our hands," said one of the victims. "Resettling us when we do not have any money to start a living is just the same as cutting our heads.”

Civil society and the MDC-T have condemned the government move to deploy troops at the camp, where millions of donor dollars have been spent sheltering and feeding the people for the past six months. Villagers claim huge amounts of the aid disappeared into the pockets of officials.

There have also been as yet unsubstantiated reports that at least 100 girls at the camp are pregnant.

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