Violence has erupted in Theleka area in Insiza, Matabeleland South province, after a machete-wielding gangs notoriously known as Mashurugwi, raided villagers in what is believed to be a war over land.

According to Theleka villagers, the violence started last week on Monday. As of yesterday, villagers said they were living in fear of the unknown after the gang threatened to come back and burn their homes.

Some of the villagers have reportedly fled their homes fearing attacks. But yesterday, some villagers said they had mobilised each other to guard the village against the intruders.

“This violence was serious because it involved people from Dombo, Filabusi B, Marubamba, Mahole and other nearby villages that wanted to join such as Masholongwane, Amazon, Filabusi.

Also, the violence resulted in severe injuries for locals with some reported to be admitted to hospitals after sustaining severe injuries,” said a villager who preferred anonymity.

“People were beaten, they fought using machetes, shovels and axes. I think there are seven cases of people who are admitted to central hospital who are in a coma. From our side, we have three people who are seriously injured and the rivals have four injured.”

The villager said three men from their side were struck with axes.

The police managed to stop the violence and block the invaders, although villagers condemned the manner the police handled the violence after they reportedly beat up and arrested everyone in the area regardless of whether they took part in the violence or not.

“People here fought, but the police proved to be biased. They started beating everyone in the area and today, they started arresting anyone whom they suspected of having taken part in the violence,” said another villager.

“Boys from our village were fighting boys who moved around attacking people. Police intervened and started beating everyone whom they found around the place. We don’t know whether we will sleep because the situation is tense.”

-Southern eye