18 May 2007

Zimbabwe: Court Orders Cops Off Matabeleland Farm

Harare — THE Bulawayo High Court has ordered senior police officers who invaded a farm owned by one of the few remaining white farmers in Matabeleland North two months ago to vacate the property.

The relief order, granted by High Court judge Justice Francis Bere, says the first respondent in the matter, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, the second respondent, Senior Assistant Commissioner Chivangire, and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, should stop interfering with and harassing the farm owner and his workers.

Police invaded Portwe Farm in March and forcibly took keys to all the buildings on the farm. The owners of the property, which includes a safari concern, J Joubert & Sons (Pvt) Ltd, were told that the farm was "now a police state farm".

The police proceeded to erect tents around the farm where they are now camped.

Police also raided the gun cabinet and helped themselves to an array of rifles used for hunting expeditions by guests at the safari lodge situated on the farm.

Justice Bere said police should immediately vacate the farm, return keys to the farm and firearms they unlawfully confiscated when they invaded the property.

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