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Bulawayo’s Pumula North suburb machetes gangs where they are allegedly attacking residents and selling drugs to school children.
Residents expressed concern over the surge of criminal activities involving the gangs during a dialogue meeting organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) at Pumula North Hall yesterday.
One of the residents, Mr Bhekumuzi Dube, narrated a sad incident where one of his friends was brutally attacked by two machete-wielding men last month near Pumula North shops as they walked from Phumulani Beer Garden in the suburb where they were drinking beer.
He said the victim managed to identify one of the suspects who lived in the same area but could not report the matter to the police for fear of further victimisation.
Ward 17 Councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo, said the gangs have led to an increase in cases of unlawful entry and theft, armed robbery, assault and indecent assault in the area.
She said last month they recorded three incidents of men who were viciously attacked by the gangs near the shops and had to be ferried to hospital.
Clr Moyo said there have been daylight robbery cases occurring in the area where people are attacked and robbed of their cellphones and money at a bushy area that separates Pumula North from Old Pumula suburb.
She said some of the gangsters come from nearby suburbs and are taken in as tenants by residents unknowingly.
“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,” said Clr Moyo.
She urged residents to be careful when taking in tenants to help mitigate the unruly behaviour occurring in the area.
BPRA Ward 17 Chairperson, Mr Mandlenkosi Gumunyo echoed Clr Moyo’s sentiments saying there are cases where the gangs are now selling drugs and alcohol to school children.
“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,” he said.
Mr Gumunyo urged residents to work together with police by reporting any group or any suspicious individuals who are seen moving around holding a machete, iron bar or any other weapon.
The residents also called on the police to intensify raids and patrols targeting machete-wielding gangs in their area to help curb the criminal activities.
“Police should also reintroduce the stop-and- search operation which they used to carry out at night to catch the gangs. As residents we are also willing to join the Neighbourhood Watch Committee and help the police in patrolling the area during the odd hours of the night where most of these activities are occur,” said Mr Godwin Ncube, one of the residents. chronicle
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