SIX Chisumbanje villagers were arrested at the weekend for allegedly trespassing into Green Fuels land in a long-running boundary dispute.
The villagers are expected to appear at Chipinge Magistrates’ Court today, their lawyer said.
The land dispute has become unabated with the villagers
clashing with the Billy Rautenbach-owned Green Fuels each summer in the past five years since the sugar cane and ethanol project was established in the community.
Defence lawyer Langton Mhungu yesterday confirmed that his clients, who were allegedly brutalised by police during their arrest would be appearing in court today.
“I have had a briefing with my clients who need medical attention after they were assaulted by police during their arrest. They will be appearing at Chipinge Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (today), but the exact charges have not been communicated to me,” Mhungu said.
The six villagers are Samson Mugovera Myambo, Chipo Shiripinda, Kazi Mugovera Myambo, Vaina Ndhlovu, Edmore Ndhlovu and Hasani Simango.
Community activist and Platform for Youth Development (PYD) director Claris Madhuku accused the government of failing to solve the long-running dispute.
“The government of Zimbabwe is failing to be decisive in solving this dispute thereby allowing the police, who are highly compromised, to use maximum force on the innocent and vulnerable villagers,” Madhuku said.
“This dispute has been ongoing for the past five years and the villagers are determined to stay put on their land.”
Police and Green Fuels could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Green Fuels started the ethanol project in 2009 and has planted its cane on Arda Estates that used to share boundaries with the local communities. At one point the locals were allowed to farm on the Arda land with government permission.