Vil­lagers who torched ‘cat­tle rustler’ homes con­victed

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Richard Muponde Gwanda Correspondent

A HEAD­MAN and three vil­lagers from Mat­shet­sheni who torched three home­steads be­long­ing to sus­pected cat­tle rustlers have been con­victed of pub­lic vi­o­lence.

The head­man, Peter Mlilo and vil­lagers Sam­son Tsha­bangu, Casper Ncube and Mthokozisi Dube pleaded not guilty but were con­victed by Gwanda mag­is­trate Ms Sheila Na­zombe. They were re­manded in cus­tody to to­day for sen­tenc­ing. Six other vil­lagers - Robert Mlilo (71), Mgoli Moyo (71), Dan Ncube (62), De­sire Moyo (82) and Luka Ndlovu (84) were ac­quit­ted on the same charges.

The vil­lagers, in their de­fence, said they were not re­spon­si­ble for the vi­o­lence and de­struc­tion of home­steads in Insindi re­set­tle­ment area.

They said they only at­tended a meet­ing to dis­cuss the preva­lence of stock theft in the area.

How­ever, con­vict­ing them, Ms Na­zombe said there was over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence against the four.

Wit­nesses who tes­ti­fied pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied the four among other vil­lagers as the ones who torched their home­steads. Prop­erty worth $12 000 was destroyed at the three home­steads. One of the state’s key wit­nesses, Ms Precious Noko, iden­ti­fied Tsha­bangu as the ring leader.

Charges against the con­victs were that on June 1 this year, the four and others who are still at large hatched a plan to de­stroy home­steads at Insindi re­set­tle­ment area. The vil­lagers ac­cused the own­ers of be­ing re­spon­si­ble for ram­pant cat­tle rustling and wanted them to leave the area to­gether with their work­ers.

One of the vic­tims, Mr Love­more Moyo, was ac­cused of spear­head­ing the theft of cat­tle and is wanted by the po­lice in con­nec­tion with stock theft cases. — @richardmuponde

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