Soldiers Terrorise Villagers In Esigodini

Villagers in the Sigola area of Esigodini in Matabeleland South province are living in fear after soldiers last week allegedly visited their homes asking for information about their stands, and collecting their personal contact details.

A villager who spoke to Southern Eye on condition of anonymity said they are now stressed following the visit by the soldiers. The villager said:

Last year on November 27, the soldiers moved around with a hailer and told people to vacate in the next seven days.

Three days later, they were firing shots at playing grounds and instilling fear in us.

The authorities from the government came and demarcated the land and marked where the soldiers’ camp should end.

Following this development, villagers thought that the chaos was now over. But on Friday last week, two military officers moved around every house demanding stand numbers of villagers and their mobile contacts.

The villager added that the soldiers did not reveal what they were collecting the information for, and also they were not accompanied by government officials or village leaders. He said:

Some of the people, who were being asked to produce this information, are children who are under age and had no idea of what was going on. These soldiers claimed to have been sent by the commander of the area.

This has caused panic among the villagers as most of them are the victims of the Gukurahundi genocide.

If the army is interested in the area, they should follow the protocols so that we can vacate in a proper manner.

Village headman Mqondisi Mpofu said he had been advised that soldiers went about collecting personal details from villagers, but since then nothing has happened.

Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said they were still consulting various stakeholders affected by the issue. Said Col Makotore:

We acknowledge receipt of your questions sent on June 29, 2021. Army public relations are currently consulting stakeholders on the ground including Umzingwane Rural District Council on the matter with a view to give you a detailed response shortly.

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