HomeNewsChingwizi tense after violent protests

Chingwizi tense after violent protests

The situation at Chingwizi remained tense yesterday, a day after protesting Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims burnt two police vehicles after reportedly disarming anti-riot police.

The villagers are protesting against the relocation of Chingwizi Transit Camp clinic to a new site earmarked for their resettlement.

When The Standard correspondent visited Chingwizi yesterday morning, heavily armed anti-riot police could be seen disembarking from two trucks.

A police base at the camp was yesterday unmanned. A makeshift police camp has been established at Lundi River, about five kilometres from Chingwizi.

People who wanted to move or drive out of the transit camp were being blocked. There was also rigorous vetting of those entering the camp as police sought to arrest suspects. Journalists were barred from taking photos.

However, the flood victims vowed they would not give up their battle. They alleged that food was now being given to selected individuals.

Tension between police and people who were resettled at Chingwizi is escalating each passing day after the settlers burned two police vehicles that had ferried police details to evict them from the transit camp.

Tension heightened on Thursday when anti-riot police fired warning shots to disperse the disgruntled villagers.

On Friday afternoon police reinforced after roping in members of the support unit. Witnesses said tempers flared when one of the flood victims was assaulted with a baton stick by a police officer.

“The victim retaliated by fighting back the police officer and the two engaged in a fist fight for a while,” he said. “This was the match stick that ignited the battlefield. The victims teamed up and started beating any police officer in sight.”

Another witness said police were driven away from the camp, abandoning their vehicles as they fled from the angry crowd. Some rowdy villagers then set the two police vehicles on fire,” he said.

Last month, the police post at the camp went up in smoke under unclear circumstances.

Masvingo acting provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nkululeko Nduna could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The displaced villagers are demanding compensation for their displacement from government before they can leave the campsite.

They want monetary compensation and also at least five-hectare plots each which was promised by government.

Government has since turned around on its promise, saying each family would instead get one hectare of land. Recently 10 cabinet ministers, led by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, left the camp in a huff after they were dressed down and booed by the villagers.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading