Villagers petition army boss over beatings

While thousands across the country were commemorating the country’s Defence Forces Day last week, it was a different story at Gutu Mpandawana business centre. There, scores of people were busy drafting a petition to army commander Constantine Chiwenga to denounce army brutality.

Army commander Constantine Chiwenga.
Army commander Constantine Chiwenga.

Two weeks ago, soldiers from the 42nd infantry battalion ran amok at the sprawling growth point, allegedly beating up people indiscriminately in a revenge attack over the assault of one of their superiors during a beerhall brawl.

In a five-page petition, the people of Gutu are demanding to know why soldiers attacked and seriously injured innocent civilians. They also decried resulting loss of business, worth thousands of dollars, as customers ran away for fear of being attacked.

“We would want at least your office to deal with the perpetrators and make sure that those who were injured are compensated,” reads part of the petition.

A curfew was imposed at the growth point as the soldiers ordered everyone to remain indoors or risk being beaten up. Even young children were not spared assault.

“I was just attacked while I was preparing my food at a local drinking spot,” said one of the victims. “They just came and started assaulting everyone in the growth point. Some managed to run away but it was not the same case for me, as they caught up with me and started beating me until I fell unconscious”

Army spokesman Shelton Madhara refused to comment on the issue.

Post published in: News

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