Friday, 2 February 2018

PROTESTING TOUTS BLOCK HIGHWAY

Scores of passengers and commercial vehicles were on Monday stranded for more than three hours along the Chiredzi-Checheche Highway after rowdy touts barricaded the road, protesting against the proliferation of pirate taxis.

The touts, who accused pirate taxis of taking away business, used stones and logs to block the highway at the Chiredzi River Bridge. The irate touts threatened to deliver instant justice on pirate taxi drivers who dared to continue plying the route.

Normal flow of traffic was only restored after the police, with the assistance of the Zimbabwe National Army arrested the rowdy touts. Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Charity Mazula could neither deny nor confirm the incident.

“I am not aware of what you are asking about, but you can check with me later on because I have something to attend to,” she said.

Efforts to contact her thereafter proved fruitless as she repeatedly said she was in meetings. Police sources in Chiredzi said they had to engage the army after failing to control the errant touts.

“We failed to stop their blockade because the touts were so many and were saying they only respected soldiers. Our superiors then engaged the army and the touts fled from the scene after an army truck appeared from one side of the road,” said a police officer who refused to be named.

Police sources said about seven touts were arrested. Witnesses said the touts threatened to set the pirate taxis alight. Of late, there has been a rise in pirate taxis plying the Chiredzi-Checheche Highway.

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