Speaking after a Provincial Coordinating Committee extraordinary meeting in Mutare yesterday, Minister of Defence, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said because of the bravery of the country’s security forces, criminals should not tamper with them, for they would be met with equal measure.

She said because of the bravery, the security forces were able to neutralise the two assailants who shot soldiers in Chivhu and killed them.

“This should serve as a warning to criminals who try to tamper with our security forces that they will be met with equal force. Our soldiers and police are giving assurance to the nation that they will always protect our people and protect our territorial integrity.

“We are pleased that our police and members of the ZNA, working on a tip-off from the public, managed to track down the assailants to near Gutu.

“In trying to disarm the two, who were now armed with not only a pistol, but also two of our rifles, another soldier was injured when they opened fire. We understand that he is in a stable condition,” she said.

Meanwhile, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga last night visited two members of the Zimbabwe National Army who are admitted at West End Hospital in Harare, following a shootout with two assailants in separate incidents in Chivhu.

Corporal Peter Zvirevo and Corporal Stanalious Chiunye were transferred to Harare for further management.

Corporal Zvirevo is critical and is admitted in the intensive care unit after undergoing an operation.

Speaking to journalists after interacting with the injured, VP Chiwenga expressed confidence that the two would recover quickly.

He commended the doctors for working round the clock to ensure the two were in a stable condition.

“I am satisfied that the doctors have done the best they can,” said VP Chiwenga. “The operation on Zvirevo went on well.”

VP Chiwenga hailed the security forces crack team that accounted for the assailants in less than 24 hours after the shootout.

“It is a great lesson to everyone in the country that such acts should not be done,” he said. “Anyone daring to do such evil acts would be accounted for.”

Meanwhile, the government has been blasted for failing to account for persons who have been abducting, beating and torturing government critics.