POLICE in Matabeleland North have arrested 53 Hwange villagers after they allegedly looted an assortment of groceries from a truck that was involved in an accident near St Mary’s on Wednesday night.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the arrest of 40 women and 13 men from Lukosi area under Chief Nekatambe.
She said the suspects, whose details will be availed after investigations, were being held at the Hwange Police Station yesterday.
“I can confirm that a total of 53 people from Lukosi were arrested and are being charged with theft after they allegedly stole some groceries from a truck that was involved in an accident,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said police raided some homesteads following a report about the looting leading to recovery of the groceries that included mealie-meal, rice, snacks, biscuits, salt and cooking oil.
Chief Insp Makonese said the truck which was headed for Hwange, overturned at around 2AM on Wednesday, scattering an assortment of goods on the road.
Instead of helping the driver Mr Emmanuel Kontinyu who fractured an ankle in the accident, villagers allegedly looted the goods and went to their homesteads.
“On May 8 at around 2AM, a road accident occurred at the 320km peg along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road. On approaching the area, the driver Emmanuel Kontinyu of Number 4149 Shato Crescent in Budiriro, Harare who was driving a freight liner loaded with bags of mealie-meal, snacks, salt, rice, biscuits and cooking oil lost control of the truck which then veered off the road and fell on its left side,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said the driver is admitted to Hwange Colliery Hospital.
Police attended the scene after a report was made and found out that some of the goods had already been looted.
The Chronicle was told that two cops who had been deployed to attend to the accident scene were overwhelmed by the number of villagers who looted the truck.
In the morning on Wednesday a team was sent to search all nearby homesteads from which 1 059x10kg and 252x5kg bags of mealie-meal, 51x10kg packets of salt, 58x5kg rice, 33x2kg packets of biscuits, and 800×210 packs of snacks were recovered.
The search continues for other goods and the value for the recovered items is yet to be ascertained. The suspects are expected to appear in court soon facing theft charges.