Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
A simmering land dispute in Mhangura constituency has left three people seriously injured from gunshots after a foiled land invasion on Tuesday night.
The three were part of a group that had waged an illegal land invasion at Ridziwi Farm, belonging to the late and former Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Charles Utete.
The farm, which was acquired during the willing-buyer-willing-seller period around 1993, measures at least 8 000 hectares.
Mashonaland West police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Ian Kohwera confirmed the incident, but could not give more details as he was still awaiting reports from the Criminal Investigation Department officers who dealt with the matter. There were also unconfirmed reports that the shooter was supposed to appear before Chinhoyi magistrate facing attempted murder charges.
According to police sources, the farm caretaker and nephew to the late Utete, Noah Makaotsa Johny Mangodo, opened fire on at least 10 villagers who had invaded the farm resulting in the injury of the three.
Mangodo is believed to be running a thriving cattle ranching project at the farm.
It is also alleged that the shoot-out followed several patrols and arrests of illegal settlers by police in Mhangura.
“At least 47 people who had settled themselves illegally at the same farm were arrested recently.
“They had also paid a local land baron US$50 to be allocated the pieces of land,” said the source.
Meanwhile, boundary disputes have also taken a nasty turn in the same constituency between Gudubu and Kanenje villagers in Ward 3 and Ward 11, where bloody fights have allegedly ensued over grazing lands.