MASVINGO – Police in Masvingo have arrested 100 farm invaders at Lundi ranch in Chiredzi for allegedly assaulting members of the Chiredzi district lands committee including officer commanding the district Chief Superintendent Partson Nyabadza and the district administrator Makepeace Muzenda two weeks ago.
Several other farm invaders are reported to be on the run and police have since launched a manhunt for the suspects.
It also emerged yesterday that the government has since put on hold the evictions following the disturbances.
Masvingo police spokesman Inspector Tinaye Matake on Thursday said they had arrested 100 people in connection with the disturbances at the farm.
Matake added that several other villagers are still on the run after they fled their homes soon after the incident.
“We have arrested 100 people and as I speak now several others are on the run and we are hunting them”, said Matake.
“They are going to be charged with public violence”.
Nyabadza, Muzenda and several others were briefly detained at Chiredzi district hospital after they were heavily assaulted by angry villagers who were ressisting eviction.
Police in riot gear were called in to restore order at the farm but the officials had already been beaten up.
Masvingo provincial lands officer Lovemore Moyo yesterday said they have since stopped the evictions.
“We have stopped the evictions as of now to pave way for dialogue”, said Moyo. “We have to talk to them so that we come up with an agreement”, he added.
The Chiredzi district lands committee had agreed to evict the farm invaders from the ranch which they had occupied since the height of farm invasions in 2000.
However things did not move according to plan for the district lands committee when heavily armed villagers descended on them and heavily assaulted them two weeks ago.
Some members of the committee took to their heels while others who could not run fast were caught up and heavily assaulted by the farm invaders
Hordes of Zanu Pf supporters who occupied the farm now face the risk of being evicted after the ministry of land ordered their eviction on the grounds that they invaded undesignated land.
Last month the government resolved to evict at least 250 people from Clipsham farm arguing that the property was now ear marked for the future development of Masvingo city.