Nearly 20 000 people have been arrested by police this year for various illegal activities, including machete gangs and foreign currency dealers, in a move aimed at ridding the country of malcontents.
Touts, unscrupulous fuel dealers, motorists with unregistered vehicles and those found with dangerous weapons, were nabbed under various operations.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The ZRP has intensified operations; ‘No to unregistered motor vehicles’, ‘No to touts’, ‘No to unscrupulous fuel dealers’, ‘No to illegal forex dealers’, ‘No to dangerous weapons’, ‘No to machete gangs’ and ‘No to cross-border crimes’, among other several operations.
“On March 7, 2021 alone, a total of 451 arrests were made on the above stated operations, bringing the cumulative total arrest to 19 531 since January 1, 2021. Meanwhile, police urges members of the public to shun crime and report all criminal activities at any police station,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police will remain firm on the ground to enforce law and order.
In September last year, gangs armed with machetes and knobkerries resurfaced countrywide, targeting mines and individuals keeping large amounts of cash, prompting police to relaunch “Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere” and “No to Machete Wielding Gangs”.
A few months ago, police restored order in mining areas after taking on the gangs, arresting large numbers and thwarting a wave of violence. That ‘gangland’ violence claimed the lives of several people and left many injured.
Since January last year, 12 330 machete gang members and other criminal elements have been arrested in mining communities countrywide.
Police launched “Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere”, following an outcry from citizens over machete-wielding robbers who were terrorising people in mining communities.
Criminal activities by the marauding gangs of machete attackers have seen reports of murder, rape, assault, housebreaking and stock theft. Police statistics show that in the mineral-rich Midlands Province, reported criminal cases rose 33 percent in the first nine months of 2019 because of the influx of machete attackers.
Recently, machete gangs raided the Circle V mine in Shurugwi and stole a firearm and $5 000 cash, stabbing and injuring one mine employee in the process. Management said the money was part of the float used to buy gold at the mine. Lately, machete gangs have been targeting people dealing in cash around Harare.- The Herald