MUTARE MAYHEM

Arron Nyamayaro

POLICE have acted swiftly and decisively by arresting kingpins, including prominent businessman Isau Mupfumi, suspected of being behind the violence, which erupted in a turf war at Sakubva Bus Terminus in Mutare on Thursday.

The violent clashes, between rival machete-wielding tout gangs, left two people seriously injured and torched violence which spread into the city’s CBD.

One of the leading figures in the transport business in the country, Leonard Mukumba, who is the owner of Mukumba Brothers, trading as Inter-Africa Bus Services, is wanted by police in connection with the violence.

By targeting the kingpins, the police are also sending a clear message that no-one is immune to prosecution if they involve themselves in such madness.

Twenty two have also been arrested.

Such taxi turf wars have plagued South Africa for years resulting in the deaths of thousands of people who have been caught in the crossfire.

In a statement, national police spokesperson, Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said:

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms the arrest of bus operators, touts, criminal gangs and rank marshals in connection with public violence scenes which rocked Mutare on May 23 and May 24.

“Several complainants have made reports of assault to the police

Leonard Mukumba

“Initial police investigations indicate that there is a fight over loading bays and ranks at Harare-Mutare Old Rank in the Mutare Central Business District and Mudzviti Rank pitting Mupfumi buses and Mukumba buses.

“Some of the suspects were reported to have been hired and paid to engage in public violence using vehicles whilst carrying machetes and other weapons.”

He added:

“In one of the incidents, police had to fire warning shots to effect arrests as the gangs were fighting and striking one another with machetes, stones, iron bars and other weapons.

“Some members of the public were caught in the crossfire and sustained injuries.

“The Police has recovered a white Toyota Hiace vehicle registration number ABF 2518, a white Toyota Belta vehicle registration number AFA 6517, a White Mazda 323 vehicle registration number ABM 8801, a silver Toyota Wish vehicle registration number AEP 6689, a white Honda Fit vehicle registration number AFM 1550, a white Toyota Aqua vehicle registration number AGG 0083, knives, hoe handles, iron bars, stones, two slushiers, a red and black sjambok and a 1,5 metres deformed bar,” said Commissioner Nyathi.

The arrested suspects include Mupfumi, 62,  Jelous Mukorera, 36, Michael Chigaro, 37, Tatenda Chamusingarevi, 22, Cassidy Chabvuta, 33, Clayton Muchineripi, 24, Kudzanai Neshiri, 24, Donemore Dube, 44, Taurai Gumende, 36, Constantine Makombe, 21, Tawanda Matara, 42, Liberty Simonyi, 28, Rodrick Chiutsi, 32, James Bhekete, 35, Daniel Kaibo, 35, Daniel Edmore Shupai, 25, Noah Mabota, 26, Wayne Mafuta, 21, Blessing Chikukwa, 30, Donald Matakure, 23, Oracio Migayo, 18, and Luckmore Shamhu, 30.

Zimbabwe Public Transport Organisation (ZPTO) has condemned violence that erupted between touts at Mutare rank that left some seriously injured.

ZPTO chairperson Dr Samuel Nhanhanga told H-Metro that anyone found inciting or causing unrest among transporters and passengers should be dealt with accordingly.

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