Five family members are lucky to be alive after a bomb exploded in their homestead, blowing off the roof of a house and damaging three huts at neighbouring homesteads in Lupane.
The explosion occurred on Sunday afternoon at the homestead of Lupane Women’s Centre director Mrs Hildegard Mufukare along the old Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road in Mqoqi Village, Shabula area under Chief Mabhikwa, police confirmed.
There were no casualties. Preliminary investigations suggest the bomb could be an anti-tank landmine designed to damage or destroy armoured vehicles.
It is suspected it was planted during the country’s liberation war. “Circumstances are that on the 3rd of October 2021 at about 3pm, the informant Tinashe Mufukare aged 33 of Hildeguard Mufukare’s homestead assigned one of the domestic workers to dispose litter at a rubbish pit. He lit the fire and left the dumping site.
“After some minutes an explosion was heard from the dumping site and it caused cracks on the two-roomed house, and also shattered the screen of a Toyota Hilux double cab which was also parked in the yard,” said Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda.
He said a report was made to the police and the Zimbabwe National Army bomb disposal team.
Insp Banda urged members of the public to be wary of suspicious looking substances.
“We appeal to members of the public not to temper with anything that is metallic in nature and looks suspicious lest they detonate explosives. Whenever they discover anything suspicious, they should report to the nearest police station,” he said.
Mrs Mufukare said the rubbish pit had been there for years and was for burning garbage. She said there were five people cleaning a fowl run when the explosion occurred.
“They are my children and were cleaning a fowl run. They put garbage in the pit and burnt it. The explosion happened soon after they left the pit going back to the fowl run to continue cleaning,” said Mrs Mufukare.
She said the pit is on the edge of the yard, about two metres from the two-roomed house whose walls cracked and roof was totally blown off leaving trusses broken. The fowl run is about eight metres away from the pit and its walls also cracked.
“They suddenly heard a loud bang which I also heard at Lupane Centre where I was. People on the other side of Gwayi River and Banda area about 10km away also heard the explosion. The damaged house is about two metres from the pit and its walls cracked while the trusses broke causing all corrugated iron roof sheets to falls off. The police bomb disposal unit which visited today suspect that it is an anti-tanker,” she said.
A Blair toilet wall also cracked.
Some window panes cracked while a roof was damaged at a neighbouring homestead belonging to Mrs Fiona Nyathi (74) while Mrs Olipha Sibanda’s hut also lost window panes.
A door fell off from another neighbour’s rondavel. The explosion’s vibration was also felt at the Lupane District Development Co-ordinator’s office, close to 10km away from the homestead.
The District Development Co-ordinator, Mrs Ennetty Sithole, who chairs the District Civil Protection Unit (CPU), implored security agents to carry investigations to ensure villagers’ safety.
“We went there in the morning as CPU and found that the explosion had left a trail of destruction. The two-roomed house at Mrs Mufukare’s homestead is a write-off while several other structures were damaged but fortunately no one was injured.
“It is suspected that it could be a bomb that was left during the liberation war and we have requested the security to do investigations speedily so that we are assured that people are safe. We have sent an appeal to stakeholder to assist with building material for the affected families,” she said. -Chronicle