Zimbabwe: Beware of Landmines - ZRP

POLICE have urged people to be careful whenever they come across strange metal objects in the bush, especially in areas where there was a lot of activity during the liberation war, as some of them could be bombs and grenades.

Two children aged nine and ten, were recently killed in Bikita, while five family members were injured in Tsholotsho after a detonation this month.

In both cases, the munitions were picked up by minors who started playing with them before they exploded.

Police are now working with various stakeholders, including the Zimbabwe National Army bomb experts, to assist in identifying some of the objects in the most affected areas.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi last week said people should study the history of their areas to minimise risk.

"They should also inform their children to avoid picking up any suspicious metal objects as they would be risking their lives," he said.

"Police are also conducting awareness campaigns and we are working with the relevant stakeholders, traditional leaders, village heads and parents."

Asst Comm Nyathi urged people to report any suspicious metal objects they would have come across.

The Bikita incident occurred in Mukondero communal area under Chief Mabika.

Police said a landmine detonated and killed the two cousins, identified as Brighton Zengeya (9) and Tatenda Jahunda (10).

When the incident occurred, the children were herding cattle some 200 metres away from their homestead in the company of a neighbour identified as Kota Bere Chikara (80).

Chief Mabika's area used to be a passage for freedom fighters into Mozambique for military training during the country's liberation war.

As a measure to stop the movement of people to join the war, Rhodesian forces randomly planted landmines in the mountainous area.

Last week, police investigations also revealed that the area in which a round metal object which exploded and seriously injured five family members in Tsholotsho was a once a military base during the liberation struggle.

The device, which had a knob, was found by a 13-year-old boy in the bush and exploded at the family homestead in Tsholotsho.

A dog which was nearby died on the spot.

The five injured -- were the father Richard Moyo (64), Onias Moyo (32), the 13-year-old boy and two others aged 10 and two.

They were rushed to Tsholotsho Hospital for treatment.

Richard Moyo was still admitted at the hospital while the other four had been discharged.

The 13-year-old boy picked up the metal object thinking it was toy and it exploded while he was using a hammer to remove the knob at his parents' home in Gotshane Village, Chief Mahlathini.

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