Zimbabwe: Beitbridge Residents Want Soldiers Probed

BEITBRIDGE residents have urged the government to investigate the conduct of soldiers deployed into the border town following a spate of criminal activities including the recent killing of a worshipper.

Residents said the frequency at which the soldiers are being found at crossroads with the law could only be a tip of the iceberg.

The soldiers, some rotating from their Induna Barracks in Bulawayo to the 1 Independent Company at Beitbridge and others deployed to restore order in the

Beitbridge Border Post could be abusing their station, the residents feel.

ZNA spokesman Colonel Alphios Makotore did not respond to questions.

Already four members of the ZNA have been remanded in custody on various criminal allegations of murder and robbery.

Nobert Muringo, 36, a Beitbridge soldier and another man are currently on trial at the Beitbridge regional magistrate's court answering to charges of stealing

a vehicle from a Beitbridge resident.

The car was recovered in Bulawayo where it had been sold.

Meanwhile Ngqabutho Khoza, Emmanuel Gandidzanwa and Oscar Mutambisi all from 1 Independent Company at Beitbridge have been remanded in custody on allegations

of gunning down Jarvas Masvinu.

Recently soldiers manhandled a traditional leader David Mbedzi, whose title is Chief Sitauze later saved when an official of the Immigration Department

intervened.

And, in Dite another soldier was arrested on allegations of assaulting two women herding cattle in the banks of the Limpopo River.

"A number of accusations have been levelled against the soldiers and we feel it is time the government, if it does not condone these actions, moves in to keep

them under check. Loss of life is not a small matter.

"These soldiers started by assaulting a chief and they continue with activities we need answers for. "Have they become a law unto themselves?" Beitbridge mayor

Morgan Ncube asked.

"A family has been robbed of its bread winner by an action involving these trigger happy soldiers. Who will guard us if they are turning against us?

"We hear of their activities at the bridge and inside the border post. They also raided a liquor outlet and stole beer in Dulivhadzimo."

Another resident said some soldiers were stopped in their tracks when they tried to assault a female Central Intelligence Organisation officer recently.

Inside the Customs and Excise yard travellers allege the soldiers demand bribes from travellers and motorists.

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