POLICE in Gweru have arrested six more members of a machete-wielding gang following a bloody shootout, for allegedly killing an on-duty police officer at Good Hope Mine in Battlefields near Kadoma.
The mostly young suspects include a 14-year-old boy.
The latest arrests bring to nine the arrests made following that of three suspects, Munyaradzi Chari (43), Lyton Tshuma (18) and Obvious Mawire (21) on January 2.
Constable Wonder Hokoyo was killed on December 28 while his colleague Constable Kamhuka is fighting for life at Kadoma General Hospital after gold panners attacked them at Good Hope Mine.
In a statement on Saturday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi identified the six as Tonderai Musasa (18), Richwell Tshuma (26), Bornlight Mukute (20), Paul Demo (27), Taurai Munetsi (31) and the minor whose identity has been withheld for ethical reasons.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the gang surrendered the weapons used in the fatal assault to the police.
He said Demo and Munetsi are, however, admitted to Kadoma General Hospital under police guard after they sustained injuries during a shootout with the police as they tried to resist arrest. “Demo and Munetsi were arrested while hiding at house number 2637 Ascot Extension and 3526 Ascot Extension in Gweru during a police raid. The duo initially resisted arrest resulting in an exchange of fire, Demo sustained injuries on the left knee and right ankle while Munetsi got injuries on the left knee,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Meanwhile, Asst Comm Nyathi condemned attacks on police officers performing their constitutional duties following an incident which occurred in Mphoengs on Friday when a machete wielding gang attacked police officers and injured one in an effort to free a robbery, unlawful entry and theft suspect Nkosana Moyo from police custody during indications.
“During the scuffle police fired some shots resulting in one suspect aged 35 being shot and passing on at a local hospital. The released suspect, Nkosana Moyo later handed himself to the police still in police handcuffs. The ZRP reiterates that acts of violence and attacks on law enforcement agents will be dealt with in terms of the country’s laws,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Cops have arrested more than 100 illegal gold panners and vendors in separate raids at Good Hope Mine in Kadoma and Jumbo Mine in Mazowe, areas which have been synonymous with violence over gold.
Police also impounded three vehicles that were loaded with gold ore.
Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga has issued a stern warning to the machete terror gangs that the law will catch up with them. He said police will soon issue orders to prohibit carrying of dangerous weapons in the gold mining sites.