Criminals are let off the hook, villagers complain

Villagers in Mbembesi have raised concern at what they said was poor handling of criminal cases by the police resulting in dangerous criminals being let off the hook.

The villagers said stock theft, robbery, and rape cases which occur in the area are not properly investigated.

The community has tried to engage the police on the issues but without much success.

“As a community, we have engaged the police on three occasions. Our main grievance is that stock theft cases and other serious crimes are not being handled properly. There are some cases which just disappear without the complainants receiving justice,” said a villager from ward 3 who preferred anonymity.

He said that once released from police custody the suspects threaten them with unspecified action.

Another villager, Mkululi Ntambo said it is worrying that when the community give the police leads on suspects, they are not followed up.  

“We raised concerns that when we report cases, they are not investigated. The other thing is that when we assist them with information, the suspects are released after a day or two,” said Ntambo.

“We also discovered that the police pretend to record our statements but when we make a follow-up, we realise that most cases were not recorded”.

Another villager Busani Mkhwebu, a victim of robbery said he had evidence of the suspect but his case is still ongoing.

 “I was robbed on my way from work, they took my groceries, a bag with tools and R5 000 and they assaulted me and axed me in the head and left me to die. I tried to run but I failed, they then came back to finish me off but I managed to escape,” said Mkhwebu, who managed to identify his attackers.

“I tried to follow up on my case with Mbembesi police, but they said they don’t have a vehicle to apprehend the criminals, they kept exchanging people handling my case. I identified the people who robbed me, and I informed the police. When I engaged their headquarters in Nkayi that when the case started moving, the officer in charge later offered to use his own personal vehicle to follow up on the case.”

Contacted for a comment, Matabeleland North police spokesperson, Inspector Glory Banda said he is not aware of the matter.

“As far as I know, the way we handle these cases of stock theft is above board. I have not yet received a complaint but if someone has a complaint they are free to bring their complaint, they can write a letter of complaint then we will act accordingly,” said Inspector Banda.

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