via Zanu PF youths kidnap vapostiri worshipers – NewZimbabwe 12/02/2016
MUTARE: Ten suspected Zanu PF youths were on Sunday arrested after they kidnapped and assaulted vapostori worshipers who were conducting their night prayers at a mountain near Murahwa Hill Nature Reserve, saying the place was “sacred”.
The youths had been camping at the Reserve claiming they were instructed by local traditional leadership to protect the “sacred” place.
The arrested youths were identified as Blessing Maramba, 22, a soldier based at Chikanga 3 Brigade HQ, Munyaradzi Saungweme, 29, Tendai Musiyarira, 29, Lovemore Chinyanga, 21, Martin Chimururu, 28, Prince Kuwa, 25, Mvalo Themba, 34, Moven Phiri, 26, Sithembile Sigauke, 13, and Ruth Mvere, 39.
They appeared before magistrate Langton Mukwengi facing charges of unlawfully detaining people and public violence. They were denied bail and instructed to apply for bail at the High Court. In denying bail, Mukwengi said the 10 were facing serious charges of kidnapping and public violence.
They will be back in the dock on February 26.
Court heard that on February 6, around 19 00hrs, members of the apostolic sect went to Murahwa Hills to conduct their overnight prayers.
As the members of the apostolic sect where about to complete their prayers, they were confronted by the 10 suspects who told them that they were abusing a “sacred place”.
The youths then kidnapped the 21 worshipers. They took them to a certain place which they termed their base within the reserve and placed them under guard.
Armed with logs and sticks, the youths ordered their hostages to disrobe and surrender their bottles of water and mobile phones, and sing liberation war songs.
Court heard that the suspects then forced their hostages to sniff bute (tobacco), threatening to fine them a beast each to appease the ancestors if they refused to comply with the orders. It is a taboo to take tobacco as a member of the apostolic sect.
When Gibson Findi and Paul Timburwa tried to resist they were assaulted all over their bodies until they obliged. The youths insisted that only those sniffed Bute were going to be freed.
However, One Esnath William, who somehow managed to keep her phone, sent a text message to her husband who was at home. The husband quickly made a report to the police.
Later, armed police proceeded to the scene with dogs and found the worshipers still under detention, and rescued them.
All the suspects were arrested.