Four villagers have been arrested after they joined a mob that assaulted Chief Murinye and three police officers in Masvingo. The attack occurred on Wednesday after the chief barred them from burying a relative at a sacred spot in the community.
Chief Murinye sustained bruises and a swollen eye while the three police officers from Nemamwa Station were also injured in the assault. The arrested villagers are Amen Munyimo, Moses Mugabe, Jenniffer Mande and Christopher Maromo. Police say more suspects are being sought.
Videos of the attack show an angry mob surrounding and hitting the chief and police officers. At one point Chief Murinye is seen running away from his attackers.
The trouble started when Chief Murinye heard villagers were preparing to bury Jairos Zindoga at an unauthorized place. He went there with police but the mourners refused to use the community cemetery, leading to the attack.
Reinforcements were called in to make the arrests. Other chiefs have condemned the assault, with Chief Chitanga calling it “anathema” and “really unacceptable.” He said the chiefs will conduct their own investigation.
The arrested villagers face public violence charges. The investigation continues.