Farmers sleep in fields in fear of robbers

Staff Reporters

Farmers resettled along Chiwundura Road, about  10 to 20km from Kwekwe Central Business District, have resorted to sleeping in fields and forests out of fear of being attacked by a gang of marauding robbers terrorizing them.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the farmers in Congela expressed their perpetual fear of these gangs, who begin their roving around 181800 hours compelling the farmers to abandon their homes for the safety of the forest.

“This problem started recently on April 26th, 2024. Four families fell victim to a gang of six men who rampaged, assaulting them and stealing property. They beat them and stole cell phones, cash, and other belongings. Upon hearing the news, we attempted to mobilize as a community to end it, but we retreated upon learning that some of the robbers were armed. In one instance, they attacked a pregnant woman and stole all the baby clothes she had bought,” said the farmers.

They lamented that they were now forced to leave their homes and seek shelter in the forest.

“I have to take my family of nine into the bush for safety. Around 1800 hours, we gather our blankets and head into the forest to sleep until 3 or 4 AM, when it’s safe to return home. Our children live in constant fear, and we only preserve our lives by sleeping in the bush. Several members of our community have been assaulted and injured by these robbers,” said one farmer.

They reported the incidents to ZRP Kwekwe Rural but encountered difficulties as the police allegedly claimed to be currently incapacitated.

“We approached Kwekwe Rural Police, but they informed us that transportation is a challenge for them at the moment. They suggested that we gather resources and purchase fuel for them to conduct patrols. In our current state, struggling with drought, we can barely feed ourselves, let alone raise extra funds to support the police,” said a farmer from Congela.

They urged the police to act swiftly before any lives are lost.

Meanwhile, police arrested three suspected robbers who attacked a farm in the area. The three men appeared in court on Thursday before Magistrate Mildred Matuvi and were remanded in custody until May 16, 2024.

The suspects, Forget Gwanyanya (21), James Gwanyanya (28), and Thabani Dube (22), are accused of robbing Wycherly Farm along Chiwundura Road, where farmers have been terrorized by robbers.

They face charges of robbery as defined in Section 126 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

According to state papers, it is said that on an unknown date but during the month of April 2024, the three accused persons together with Ayanda  and Shelton both full identities unknown acting together went to Wycherley Farm along Chiwundura Road,  Kwekwe armed with machetes and knives forcibly opened doors on a house.

It is alleged that they stole a blue puma jacket, Itel phone, floral waist bag, Samsung A3 pro, Itel P37, grey satchel with groceries, Huawei cellphone, Kgtel phone  and USD$75.

They also proceeded to steal Samsung 32 inch color TV, pioneer decoder, openview decoder, Samsung subwoofer, groceries and various clothes. They stole Huawei cellphone and Samsung A12.

Prosecutor Munodawafa Njovo told the court that these items were stolen on different days.



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