By Matabeleland North Correspondent
VICTORIA FALLS: The two soldiers who shot and killed two men in Chisuma area just outside Victoria Falls have been arrested while angry villagers allegedly torched a house belonging to a businessman who they accused of working in cahoots with security forces in terrorising members of the community.
The soldiers identified as Bernard Sibanda and Bonang Nare both stationed at 1.2 Infantry Battalion in Hwange are expected to appear in court facing murder charges, police investigators confirmed Friday.
The shooting incident happened around 7.30 pm Wednesday at Chisuma Business Centre where Sibanda and Nare had been deployed in the area for Covid-19 lockdown operations including border control to prevent cross-border smuggling.
The two were drinking beer when they had an altercation with members of the public.
Villagers who witnessed the incident said the soldiers picked a fight with members of the public at Langton Bar and retreated to their base at Chisuma Primary School where they came back armed with service rifles before opening fire on the now deceased.
However, details emerging from the community are that several villagers have been tortured by the armed soldiers and police since the start of the lockdown restrictions.
The security service officers are also accused of sexually abusing young girls through intimidation at Chisuma Primary School where they were camped.
Fear has gripped the area because of intimidation and victimisation in the hands of the security forces.
Meanwhile, sources said some angry villagers mobilised Thursday night and proceeded to Chisuma Business Centre where they set alight a house belonging to Munyaradzi Mlauzi, a businessman who runs a grocery shop and bar.
The soldiers and police are reported to have used Mlauzi’s bar as a drinking and eating spot while on duty.
Members of the public are unhappy after the authorities blamed the deceased men Morgen ‘Zhuzha’ Sibanda and Dumisani ‘Dudu’ Mpofu for attempting to disarm the two soldiers.
Sources alleged that Mlauzi has been at loggerheads with villagers on numerous occasions and enjoyed protection from the security forces.
They alleged that Mlauzi is known for smuggling goods including prohibited beer and cigarettes from Zambia through the Zambezi River, a development that fuelled tension in the community.
Mlauzi could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone which was off during the day.
“People went to the shop and openly declared that they were burning the house behind the shop. Munya was not in as he was in Victoria Falls with his family,” said a source.
Police confirmed the incident and said investigations were underway.