Accessibility links

Disgruntled Zimbabwean Soldiers Go On Rampage In Central Harare

A mob of disgruntled Zimbabwean soldiers in uniform went on a rampage in central Harare on Friday after they were unable to withdraw money from a bank, beating passers-by and seizing their property, and assaulting and robbing street dealers in foreign exchange, witnesses said.

Witnesses to the incident said the soldiers turned violent when they were unable to obtain cash from a bank in the city center as the institution had run out of bank notes.

Shortages of currency have been a chronic and increasingly severe problem for Zimbabweans who can only withdraw Z$500,000 a day from their bank accounts - no longer enough to buy a loaf of bread and barely enough to cover the cost of bus trip in and out of town.

The infuriated soldiers were said to have seized an Interbank branch manager who was released only after the intervention of military police.

A unnamed soldier told the IRIN news service that soldiers were despondent as there is little food available to them in their barracks and no medicine in military hospitals.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe told reporter Patience Rusere that the soldiers grabbed plastic bags of groceries from people in the street.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...