Daring groups of machete-wielding assailants, infamously known as MaShurugwi are on the loose in Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe, where they are allegedly attacking residents and selling all sorts of illicit substances to school-going children.
The shocking revelations emerged during a meeting that was organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) in the country’s second biggest city on Wednesday this week.
In his remarks during the meeting, Bhekumuzi Dube narrated a sad incident when one of his friends was savagely attacked by MaShurugwi in the densely populated suburb of Pumula. The incident occurred at Pumula North shops as Dube and his colleague were on their way from Phumulani Beer Garden where they were imbibing.
Albeit the fact that the victim managed to identify one of the perpetrators, Dube said they did not report the matter to the police for fear of further victimisation by the well-known criminal who also stays in Pumula.
According to Bulawayo Ward 17 Councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo, the dreaded MaShurugwi gangs have led to an increase in cases of unlawful entry and theft, armed robbery, assault and indecent assault in the area.
Moyo said last month they recorded three incidents of men who were viciously attacked by the gangs near the shops. The victims were later ferried to a city hospital for medical attention.
At a bushy area that dermacates Pumula North and Old Pumula suburbs, Councillor Moyo said, people are attacked in broad daylight and robbed of their valuables including cellphones and money.
“In the past two months we have been experiencing an increase in criminal activities by machete-wielding gangs in the area and it has become a cause of concern. Most of them engage in these activities after they are drunk. We have also realised that as residents we are living with these criminals in our homes as tenants. These thugs are mainly from other suburbs. They rent our houses and terrorise us,” she said.
Moyo also urged residents to be careful when taking in tenants in a bid to arrest the surge in criminal activities.
BPRA Ward 17 Chairperson, Mandlenkosi Gumunyo also shared Councillor Moyo’s sentiments, adding that the machete gangs are now selling drugs to school children in the city.
“This month we had an incident where two Pumula High school pupils were caught in possession of drugs which they claimed they got from a certain gang. We recently recorded another incident where a 15-year-old girl died after she drank alcohol which we believe she got from the same gang. These are other forms of criminal activities that are now occurring in our area and they are now a cause of concern,” Gumunyo lamented.
Residents implored on the police to intensify raids and to bring an end to the reign-of-terror by MaShurugwi gangs in the area.