Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
FORTY members of a machete gang that stormed a police base in Gokwe North in January in an attempt to rescue their arrested colleagues, have been sentenced to between five and seven years in jail, each.
Gokwe magistrate Mr Musaiona Shortgame sentenced 10 members of the gang, who are juveniles to five-year jail terms each and conditionally suspended one year from each.
He slapped seven-year jail terms, each, on the remaining 30 gang members and conditionally suspended one year, for each.
Mr Shortgame said cases of violence were on the increase and deterrent sentences were necessary.
The State, led by Mr Liberty Chimwaradze, proved that on January 6 around 5pm, police manning Zenda Police Base arrested panners who were in a Toyota Wish armed with machetes, in connection with a robbery case at Mums Gold Mine in Gokwe North.
The following day, 10 police officers were deployed to escort the accused persons from Zenda Police Base to ZRP Nembudziya.
Police received information that there were two commuter omnibuses full of armed artisanal miners from Kadoma on their way to rescue the arrested accused persons, who are part of a gang known as “Branco”.
Within minutes, the two commuter omnibuses approached the police base.
Mr Chimwaradze told the court that the 40 accused persons armed with machetes, axes, shovels, picks and knobkerries, besieged the police base demanding the release of their colleagues.
They are said to have charged towards the vehicle that was still parked outside with the accused, and attempted to open the doors to allow their colleagues to escape.
Police officers were threatened with violence if they did not yield to the gang’s demands.