Heavy Presence Of Soldiers Terrifies Zim Villagers

The soliders, who were spotted on Sunday in the area were moving in groups of not less than 20 soldiers.

Villagers told Radio VOP that the situation reminded them of liberation struggle – more than 30 years ago when groups of soliders caused terror among the people.

Member of Parliament for the area, Tichaona Mharadze said he took to his heels on Sunday after he was surrounded by a group of over 40 armed soldiers at Bhuka shopping area.

“I came face-to-face with the soldiers yesterday. I ran away fearing for my life and my security.They were very many and armed as if they were going to war.

“We don’t know what they are doing in my area, but I feel as the MP for the area, they should have informed me of any development before deploying the gunmen,” said Mharadze.

Mharadze who was nearly shot by army major general Engelbert Rugeje at Chevron hotel in Masvingo last year following a heated argument said since then, he has never trusted soldiers.

Having discovered that he was losing an argument to Mharadze last year, Rugeje pulled out a gun in the bar and threatened to “squash the MP like a fly or make him disappear without trace”.

“Personally, I am still in shock with what I saw with my eyes in my constituency, I am afraid of soldiers. Since last year when Rugeje nearly killed me in a bar, I have never trusted soldiers,” said a visibly shaken Mharadze.

Masvingo 4 brigade public relations officer Kingstone Chivave said people should feel secure when they see soldiers in their area.

“Why should they panic? Soldiers are there for protection and I think anyone must be happy that at least soldiers are in the area,” said Chivave.

However, villagers maintained that they were living in fear.

“We are greatly terrified; we don’t know what they are planning to do in our area. We beg the responsible authorities to withdraw the soldiers from here,” said Simon Munemo.

Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke said he was not the right person to comment about ‘those soldiers who were deployed without my knowledge’.

“You are seeking comment from a wrong person altogether. Those soldiers were deployed without my knowledge, I am not the right person to comment,” he said.