A 14-year-old boy is among nine suspects who have been arrested in connection with the hacking to death of a policeman by a machete gang at Good Hope Mine in Battlefields recently.
Some of the suspects were arrested in Gweru after the exchange of gunfire with the police.
The suspects have since surrendered to police weapons used to commit public violence crimes, including the murder of Constable Wonder Hokoyo.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests and said the teenager will be interviewed in the presence of his parents or guardian, a probation officer and a lawyer.
Legal expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said a minor above the age of seven was considered as capable of committing an offence and could be arrested and tried, not in a public court, but in camera.
“At an age of 14, minors are capable of committing an offence,” he said. “Even from the age of eight, minors are capable of committing a crime and maybe tried in court, but it will also depend on the manner they will be tried.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said police will follow the due processes in terms of the law when dealing with the minor.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has arrested Tonderai Musasa (18), Richwell Tshuma (26), Bornlight Mukute (20), Paul Demo (27), Taurai Munetsi (31) and a minor aged 14 in connection with the murder of Cst Hokoyo by machete wielding gangs in Battlefields, Kadoma recently,” he said.
“The latest arrest brings the total arrests to nine following that of Munyaradzi Chari (43), Lyton Panashe Tshuma (18) and Obvious Mawire (21).”
Asst Comm Nyathi said Demo and Munetsi were arrested while hiding at house number 2637 Ascot Extension and 3526 Ascot Extension in Gweru, respectively.
“The duo initially resisted arrest, resulting in an exchange of fire, Demo sustained injuries on the left knee and right ankle, while Munetsi got injuries on the left knee,” he said. “They are currently admitted at Kadoma General Hospital under police guard.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said police condemned acts of public violence and attacks on police officers who will be performing their constitutional duties.
“This follows an incident in Mphoengs on 3 January 2020 where a machete-wielding gang teamed up with some unruly elements to free, unlawful entry and theft suspect, Nkosana Moyo from police custody during indications,” he said.
“The gang went on to attack police officers and injured one in the process. During the scuffle, police fired some shots resulting in one suspect aged 35 being shot and passing on at a local hospital. The released suspect, Nkosana Moyo only handed himself to the police on Saturday morning while still in police handcuffs.”
Meanwhile, Asst Comm Nyathi said Reuben Zvitiki (53), who was recently arrested and taken to court in Kadoma in connection with robbery and use of machetes at Thames 5 Mine, Blue
Grass, Luwana in Kadoma is on bail after appearing in court on Monday last week and Friday.
“Members of the public are urged to report any suspicious movements by Rueben Zvitiki,” he said. “His accomplice George Chikwature is currently remanded in custody.”
Asst Comm Nyathi applauded members of the public who are continuing to give valuable information to the police on the activities and movements of machete wielding gangs.
“Police will continue to monitor all mining sites in the country and ensure that law and order is maintained,” he said.
Meanwhile, police in Mvuma have launched a manhunt for a gang of three machete attackers which waylaid and chopped to death a local miner before stealing US$700 cash and a cellphone on New Year’s Day.
Asst Comm Nyathi yesterday confirmed that investigations were still in progress.
The machete attack occurred as the victim, Mr Marko Dube, was on his way to his mine in Mvuma and police said the matter was being treated as a case of robbery.
Mr Dube, who operated a gold mill at Mek Syndicate Mine, received a call on New Year’s Day that there were some clients who wanted to process gold.
Circumstances are that on the fateful day, an informant Loius Seremwe (35) was at plot number 109 peri-urban in Mvuma where he resides when he heard a voice screaming for help in a nearby bush approximately 150 metres away from his homestead.
He went to investigate and saw Mr Dube running towards his house at a distance of about 100 metres being pursued by the three suspects, with one of them wearing a red T-shirt while the other one was wearing black clothes.
The third suspect was wearing dark clothing.
The three then caught up with Mr Dube and struck him several times all over the body with machetes before they searched him.
They made off with US$700 and a cellphone.
Seremwe went to the scene and discovered that Mr Dube was still alive.
Mr Dube told him to telephone his uncle who was in Kadoma and inform him that he had been robbed of USD$700 and that he was struck by machetes.
When the police arrived at the scene, Mr Dube had died.