Some Chegutu villagers have narrated the ordeal that they suffered at the hands of members of the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) on Tuesday last week.
Soldiers from Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo Airbase in Chegutu descended on Kalembo Farm in the dead of night searching for a member of a machete-wielding gang who had attacked a soldier earlier in the day.
The unknown machete gangster had allegedly stabbed a soldier while fighting for a woman at Smifort Bar on Sunday last week.
One of the villagers, Selma Modi (38), said the soldiers should be arrested and rot in jail. Said, Modi:
I am a mere housewife. I don’t know the alleged machete gangster who injured the soldier. I wasn’t aware of the incident but I was assaulted and injured.
It was so humiliating and dehumanising to be beaten on my back as if I was a child.
They were taking turns beating me using cooking sticks which they took from my kitchen while my 17-year-old son was watching.
My husband watched helplessly as I was being beaten as he had also been savaged. Right now I am not able to sit.
My back is swollen and stiff. The pain is unbearable. The soldiers must be removed from the camp and they must rot in jail.
The soldiers reportedly stormed the village, breaking doors and windows to gain entry into homes and randomly beating villagers.
After beating them, they detained some, only to release them later.
Some of the victims sustained injuries to their hands and legs while others suffered bruises.
A meeting was convened at Kalembo Farm last Friday where army bosses reportedly pledged to fund medical expenses for the injured villagers.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum programmes coordinator Wilbert Mandinde condemned the brutal assault of defenceless villagers by the soldiers. He said:
The soldiers should be held accountable for what they have done. It is crucial for the government to implement the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission especially as we are heading towards the 2023 elections.
We can’t continue to see the loss of lives and rights violations like what happened in the aftermath of the 2018 elections.
The villagers have pleaded with authorities to intervene to protect them from further victimisation.