Alexander Dube, a Zimbabwe National Army(ZNA)soldier stationed at 4.1 Brigade in Masvingo, appeared in court this week for allegedly being hired to assault people suspected of stealing cattle.

Dube (33) and his co-accused civilians, Cornelius Moyo (53) and Elfas Nyatera (46), pleaded not guilty to four counts of assault when they appeared before magistrate Honest Musiiwa.

In their defence, Nyatera and Moyo said the beatings were done by some unnamed soldiers. On his part, Dube said when the crime was committed, he was in Gonarezhou on a work related assignment.

However, the four complainants, of Village 5, Orwood Ranch, who include Zacharia Charlie, Jacob Mashira, Kenneth Chingenge and Perseverance Mashira maintained that they were beaten by Dube and another unidentified soldier.

They argued that Nyatera and Moyo hired the soldiers to assault them after suspecting they had stolen their cattle.

The claimed they were brutalised for close to five hours by the two uniformed soldiers who were drinking beer in the process.

They alleged Dube produced his identity card and told them he was a soldier investigating a case of stock theft. The complainants further told the court they sustained injuries and could not properly walk.

The State, led by Willard Chasi alleged that on December 19, 2017 at around 13:00 hrs, the three accused persons went to Village 5 where they gathered the four complainants and ordered them to divulge the whereabouts of Moyo and Nyatera’s missing cattle.

After the four professed ignorance, Dube and his colleague, who was still at large, then took logs and began to assault the four complainants with Moyo and Nyatera supplying more logs.

A police report was later made leading to the arrest of the accused.

Medical reports were produced as exhibits in court and the matter was postponed to a later date for continuation of trial. tell zim