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Top Chipangano militia leader dies

A suspected top official of the Zanu PF shadowy Chipangano militia group, John Murukai, has died. Murukai, of the Mbare-based outfit, died at Parirenyatwa Hospital last Sunday after a short illness and was buried at Warren Hills Cemetery.

Thug in Chief: Jimmy Kunaka reportedly leads the notorious ZANU PF Chipangano gang
Thug in Chief: Jimmy Kunaka leads the notorious ZANU PF Chipangano gang

Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairperson Jim Kunaka yesterday confirmed Murukais death. Yes, he was buried today (yesterday). Unfortunately, I am out of town so I did not attend the burial, Kunaka said.

A close relative of Murukai who preferred anonymity said the Kuwadzana 7-based suspected Chipangano leader, whose Chimurenga name was Longchase, was a Zanla commander during the 1970s war of liberation.

During the war, Murukai operated in the Mount Darwin area. He remained in the army after independence in 1980 before retiring in 1993. He held the rank of captain at the time of his retirement. Murukai was reportedly heavily involved in Chipanganos operations in and around Harare.

The feared group is accused of committing numerous crimes against supporters of opposition political parties. Chipangano members have overrun Harare City Council, taking control of the capital and collecting substantial amounts of cash in revenue generated at almost all council commercial properties.

The militia group has also unleashed mayhem, taking over flea markets, extorting money from transport operators and assaulting political opponents.

Vendors at the busy Mupedzanhamo Market, Mbare Musika (bus terminus), Mbare vegetable market, Carter House, Epworth and in the city centre (flea markets and bus terminuses) are reportedly forced to pay between $1 and $5 to the Zanu PF touts daily.

Concern on Chipangano was raised at a council meeting recently over the mushrooming of illegal open markets without the local authoritys approval. NewsDay