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August saw a marked surge in violence on commercial farms. Farmers in the Mashonaland West areas of Mhangura, Chinhoyi, Doma and Lions Den evacuated their farms as a safety precaution against terror being unleashed by ‘war veteran’ militias and Zanu (PF) supporters; 60 out of the 107 farms in the province are said to have been evacuated. In incidents at four farms, 120 suspects were arrested; 100 were identified as farm workers. Some were charged and found guilty, fined $500 each or three months in jail. Two other farms involved incidents in which 101 suspects arrested and 85 were identified as farm workers. Fines for the farm workers were paid by their farm managers.
Zanu (PF) supporters have evicted over 35,000 farm workers and their families in the Mashonaland East province alone. New reports suggest that local ‘war veteran’ militias are among the main perpetrators. The assailants completely invaded 14 farms in the area and destroyed much of the property. They also set fire to hectares of grazing land. At least five farmers have abandoned their farms altogether and operations have been brought to a halt at a total of 20 farms. These attacks follow invasions in Mashonaland West where militias forced 100 white families from their homes. Property worth Z$160 million was looted or vandalized.
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