By Staff Reporter
THE fall-out over the death of two soldiers after a violent altercation with gold panners in Bindura, Tuesday has begun with a men-hunt for the killers underway.
Sources said the army and police undertook a joint effort the whole of Tuesday rounding up all women suspected to be “hookers” in the small agricultural and mining town north of Harare.
“All prostitutes in the town have been rounded up and are at Chipadze Police Station. In fact they are raiding all houses at which they believe there are ladies suspected to be hookers. Its getting messy,” a source told newzimbabwe.com from Bindura late Tuesday.
Pictures of hordes of women under police guard said to have been picked up in the crackdown, began circulating on social media but police spokesperson for Mashonaland Central, Inspector Milton Mudembe dismissed them as fake. Mudembe also dismissed claims there is a witch-hunt underway.
“Those pictures are fake. But what I know is that the police are in full force to sniff out the suspected killers,” said Mudembe.
The police spokesperson also rejected claims there is a joint operation involving the army in which all ladies in the town suspected to be prostitutes are being rounded up.
“No we are not rounding up anyone. We believe there were not many women involved. In fact we have one woman a relative of one of the deceased suspected to be a hooker who is assisting us with investigations.
“We do not know for now how many of the panners were involved. We will only know that if someone is brought in for questioning and whether they had accomplices with whom they acted in common purpose,” said Mudembe.
Two soldiers were been killed, while one was seriously injured after violent clashes with gold panners early Tuesday morning.
Zimbabwe National Army director public relations Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore confirmed the incident suggesting the altercation was over women.
“We have our men who are part of a contingent preparing for independence celebrations. Some of them visited a local bar and on their way back they met the gold panners. You know these people have a penchant for terrorising people in the communities in which they operate.
“Its so rampant in Bindura and Kwekwe. It was just unfortunate that our members came across this rowdy crowd and an altercation ensued. Initially four were injured with two dying while another two were admitted in hospital with injuries. However, one has since been discharged from hospital,” Makotore told newzimbabwe.com.
Clashes between soldiers and gold panners are rife in mining towns mainly over women and control of gold claims according to sources.