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Burma Valley police, villagers clash

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BY KENNETH NYANGANI

POLICE in Burma Valley have been accused of infringing villagers’ right to movement and assaulting them for allegedly smuggling second-hand clothes and other goods from Mozambique through the porous border.

Local farmer, Edmore Gopo and his three employees, Last Maruve, Thulani Charizeni and Progress Manhungureri, said they were assaulted last week by law enforcement agents who accused them of smuggling.

The incident happened in Chigodora area when Gopo was coming from his farm in Burma Valley.

Gopo told NewsDay that they were still nursing the injuries.

“The incident happened last week when we were on our way from Burma Valley. Our vehicle developed a mechanical fault and seven armed police officers suddenly came from different directions and asked us what was on our vehicle.

“They assaulted us with logs and open fists and forced us to lie down. The assault took about 30 minutes,” he said.

“When they released us, we made a report at Mutare Rural Police Station, and we then went to hospital where we were given a medical report which was handed to police. The following day, we went to the scene with the police and the logs they used were still there,” he said.

Another villager, who identified herself as Miriam Mukwati, said she was stopped and interrogated by police details while visiting her relatives in the area.

The Mozambican border post is one of the most porous and is often used by smugglers of second hand-clothes.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Luxon Chananda yesterday said they were still investigating Gopo’s case.

He, however, denied that villagers were being assaulted and deprived of their freedom of movement.

“We are investigating the case of Edmore Gopo, he has reported the matter. Everyone has a right to freedom of movement in Burma Valley.  We visit the area often times, villagers have their freedom.  However, villagers still need to be aware that we have a COVID-19 curfew and need to go home on time,” Chananda said.

“This year alone, we have recovered 3 512 bales (of smuggled goods) during the first half of the year.”

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