By Elvis Dumba
Banket – Two soldiers deployed to secure a maize field reportedly belonging to a senior army boss in Banket are reportedly terrorising people who fetch firewood near the farm at illegally mounted roadblocks where they also demand money from motorists evading arrest.
The two soldiers who go around armed reportedly attacked mourners at a nearby compound after a veldt fire broke out before ordering mourners to put out the fire in a move that delayed burial by two hours.
According to some pirate taxis who ply Banket-Trelawney-Mapinga and Banket-Maquadzi routes, the usually two armed soldiers mount a roadblock at a dusty road that goes past the sports club where they demand various amounts of money for passage.
“We try to evade the police on the highway by using a bushy, dusty road. Recently, the soldiers mounted their own roadblock. They demand money from us so that we can pass,” said a pirate taxi operator who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.
“My passengers were told to disembark and help put out some fire before we were allowed to continue with our journey,” said another commuter omnibus driver.
The soldiers are believed to be corporals in the army. They are reported to be harassing women fetching firewood around the area with women who complain of being beaten over trespassing charges.
“We now use the longer route to come home since we fear to be beaten by these soldiers if they find us near the sports club,” a resident of a compound nearby which used to accommodate workers working at the sports club in the eighties said.
Efforts to get a comment from the said soldiers failed as they refused to entertain any questions from this publication whilst the Zimbabwe National Army Spokesperson Lt Colonel Alphios Makotore’s mobile was not being picked.