Stampede As Hungry Zimbabwe Soldiers Fight For Food

MASVINGO – There was stampede and fighting on Tuesday afternoon when hungry soldiers jostled for free food at a lunch after a ceremony to mark Defence Forces Day at Mucheke stadium.

The hungry low ranking military men who are enduring massive starvation in their army barracks had a chance to feast at a lunch held at Masvingo Polytechnic college.

However serving of food came to a stand still after about five soldiers clad in their army regalia traded insults on why some of them wanted to jump the queue. The brawl was however quelled by members of the military police. The police arrested the junior soldiers who unfortunately lost their meal as they were bundled into an army truck for detention at the army barracks.

"It is not surprising that our colleagues fight over food. We are starving in the barracks and when we get an opportunity to feed ourselves on such rare occasion we have to exploit it. We are glad that the public had to know our plight through this unfortunate incident," said a junior officer who declined to be named.

He said soldiers were going for days without proper meals.

Provincial Army spokesperson, Warrant Officer, Kingstone Chivave declined to comment. " I cant comment on that one now as investigations on how the fight started are still on."  

The issue of starvation and poor salaries has led to massive desertions in the camp as junior soldiers are skipping the borders to look for greener pastures in the neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana were they take up an form of jobs to survive.

Sources say this year alone Masvingo’s three military camps lost over 800 soldiers to the neighbouring countries.