THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) military police last week arrested 19 soldiers for allegedly assaulting villagers and looting goods worth more than $60 mill
ion from shops in Matabeleland South in retaliation for the beating of their colleagues in beerhall brawl.
A fortnight ago, more than 60 uniformed soldiers led by a Captain Gokoko, based at Bomb Range Barracks in Esigodini, allegedly went on the rampage at Ntabende shopping centre and randomly beat up villagers in revenge after their colleagues were assaulted during a brawl.
Ntabende is about 50 kilometres south of Bulawayo.
The Zimbabwe Independent established that the soldiers were picked up by the military police on Wednesday last week and were currently detained at Brady and Imbizo barracks in Bulawayo.
Their victims, during a parade held at Bomb Range Barracks, identified the arrested soldiers.
“We were all called for a parade at the barracks and we identified 19 soldiers who were part of the crew that assaulted us. They were taken away by the military police,” said Joel Ncube, the village head.
Ncube was admitted at Mater Dei Hospital, Bulawayo, after the assault, with serious injuries.
The soldiers are alleged to have rounded up the villagers and ordered them to lie on the ground before assaulting them.
Scores of villagers were admitted at Bulawayo’s Mpilo Hospital, Mater Dei Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospital following the beatings.
ZNA spokesperson, Colonel Solomon Tsatsi, confirmed that a number of army officers were arrested by the military police, but could not give the figures saying investigations were still going on.
“At the moment I do not have the exact number of officers who were arrested. What I can tell you is that a number of officers have been detained by our military police and investigation are still going on,” said Tsatsi.