A wave of new land invasions has started with war veterans reportedly occupying tourism cottages and looting household property in Troutbeck, Nyanga.
Manicaland police spokesman Inspector Brian Makomeke confirmed the reports although he could neither confirm nor deny that arrests had been made.
“I can confirm that we received such a report but right now I don’t have the details,” he said.
The up-market cottages are used to accommodate tourists and visitors to the scenic Eastern Highlands’ Nyanga area, one of the country’s major tourist attractions.
Popular attractions in the resort town include Inyangani Mountain, the highest in the country; Mtarazi Falls and the Rhodes Nyanga National Park, which is renowned for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and fishing.
The marauding invaders and looters, led by a female war veteran known as Bukuta, descended on Cheshire, TS Watersmith and Darwood cottages last week. They threatened the owners and staff before confiscating keys.
They also threatened several cottage owners and ordered them to vacate their properties. Some of the cottages were hosting tourists who were enjoying the festive season when the group made the threats.
Nyanga South MP Willard Manyowa Chimbete confirmed the invasions and said the matter had been reported to the police.
“That matter was also reported to me and I urged the cottage owners to report the matter to the police. I followed that up with a visit to the Officer Commanding Nyanga (a Chief Superintendent Moyo) who assured me that police were investigating the matter and that several arrests had been made,” said Chimbete.
“At two of the cottages, Cheshire and Watersmith, the group confiscated keys and told the caretakers to vacate the premises. They locked all the rooms and the gate but they (the invaders) returned at night and took property such as fridges and stoves which they loaded onto a truck.”
Chimbete however commended the police for acting on the matter.
Nyanga is home to several tourism cottages especially in the scenic Troutbeck and Juliasdale areas.
The cottages are privately owned, and are a favourite among people who prefer to enjoy their holidays or honeymoon in privacy.