Home » Judicial » Court Sets Free 25 Chingwizi Villagers

A Chiredzi magistrate’s court has freed 25 villagers who were part of a group of Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims facing public violence charges after they allegedly went on a rampage and torched two police vehicles at Chingwizi temporary camp in Mwenezi.

The freed villagers were part of 29 flood victims arrested following disturbances that rocked Chingwizi Camp during protests by the residents who were resisting relocation to permanent plots at the Nuanetsi Ranch in August this year.

Magistrate Mr Honest Musiiwa on Monday acquitted them after ruling that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them.

This was after the accused, through their lawyers, Messrs Philip Shumba, Collins Maboke, Martin Mureri and Jeremiah Bhamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had applied for discharge at the close of the state’s case.

Mr Musiiwa ruled that the State had failed to produce evidence indicating that the accused took part in disturbances at Chingwizi Camp.

Prosecutor Mr Liberty Hove told the court that allegations against the 25 were that sometime in August this year, they were part of a group of camp dwellers at Chingwizi, who turned rowdy and confronted police officers on duty at the holding camp.

They were alleged to have used stones to attack police officers before reinforcements were called to maintain order.

The villagers allegedly took part in the torching of two police Defender vehicles that were reduced to ashes before battering some of the cops and forcing them to flee.

Two police rifles were allegedly burnt during the disturbances that forced police to descend and seal the camp, resulting in the eventual relocation of the camp dwellers to permanent plots.

The 25 villagers were arrested a few days later during an identification parade held at Chingwizi Camp.

Only four from the original 30 villagers arrested in connection with the disturbances remain in custody, and their trial is continuing.

Source : The Herald