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Silobela villagers living in fear of wartime landmines

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By Staff Reporter


VILLAGERS in Silobela, Midlands province are living in fear of being blown up by grenades or other explosives which were planted during the country’s liberation war in the 1970s.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Silobela MP, Mthokozisa Mpofu appealed to government to look into the issue amid signs of the responsible authorities were not too keen on the matter.

In November last year, a three-year-old minor was blown up by a grenade in Muchogwe while his siblings were also left battling for their lives at Gweru Provincial Hospital.

Another villager was lucky to escape unscathed after he had also picked a grenade in a separate incident.

Soldiers had to move fast to detonate the explosive.

“Following these events, people are now living in fear of war time objects and grenades. Parents are now also fearing for their children who they believe might also pick up these dangerous weapons,” Mpofu said.

ZIPRA forces were operating in Silobela during the time of the war.

Manoki said there was need for awareness campaigns and demining activities since there was still weapon residue from the war in the lethal objects.

Added Mpofu, “The problem is that this is not the first time such objects have been picked and reports being made.

“However, there seems to be no will from the responsible authorities to come and inspect the area since it had a high activity of freedom fighters.”

Mpofu’s sentiments were echoed by his opponent in losing MDC parliamentary candidate for the area who said action needs to be taken before villagers lose lives from grenades.

“There is an urgent need for the army to move in and demine the area. Villagers are living in fear as one doesn’t know when they will stumble upon such objects.

“We recently lost a child to a grenade explosion in the area. How many lives must be lost before responsible authorities conduct demining activities in the area?” Sibindi said.