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Cumulative arrests of machete gangs moves up to 32 806 – ZRP

Cumulative arrests of machete gangs since January 2022 has moved up to 32 806, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) confirmed this week.

“On 31/07/22, the ZRP made 114 arrests countrywide on the “No to machete gangs”. Cumulative arrests since January 2022 moved up to 32 806,” ZRP said in a statement.

Popularly known as mashurugwi, the machete gangs have murdered hundreds for gold and robbed innocent citizens of various valuable possessions across the country.

File of picture of a Mashurugwi machete gang who filmed themselves declaring their support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa
File of picture of a Mashurugwi machete gang who filmed themselves declaring their support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa

In some instances, they even enter heavily protected primary mines where security is sophisticated to kill and loot minerals. They are not afraid of killing.

Mashurugwi surfaced when the government decided to decriminalise artisanal gold mining with the aim of increasing gold exports. They are believed to have strong roots in the Midlands district of Shurugwi.

The name, however, went on to be given to all machete gangs who terrorise miners across the country.

Kwekwe, Mazowe, Mutare and Chiadzwa among other areas with huge mineral deposits, have all been victims of these gangs.

Four dangerous robbers armed with knives and machetes arrested
File picture of four dangerous robbers armed with knives and machetes who were arrested in February 2018

The gangs are also said to be linked to powerful political elites with allegations former State Security Minister Owen “Mudha” Ncube was a key Godfather.

In Chiadzwa, it took concerted efforts by the police to descend on dangerous illegal miners, cleaning up the diamond-rich area before fencing it off and paving way to formal mining. This was after the area had been besieged by the gangs who killed to access the mineral.

The police and the Ministry of Mines had to launch an operation using helicopters, firing live ammunition, while unleashing vicious dogs on illegal miners at Chiadzwa. The move claimed lives but spelled an end to the reign of terror.

Meanwhile, police in Harare are investigating a case of murder in which the body of an unidentified male adult was found with cuts to the back and legs along a footpath at a dumpsite near a church in Unit A Extension, Seke Chitungwiza.

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