The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) yesterday expressed concern over the continuous use of its name and camouflage by rogue elements to commit crimes throughout the country.
This comes as the army has in recent months jailed several soldiers through court martials after convicting them of robbery, sending a clear message that it will not condone rogue elements.
In a statement, ZNA director Public Relations, Colonel Alphios Makotore, said the increase in the use of military camouflage and clothing resembling its fatigues in criminal activities is continually bothering the ZNA.
“The Zimbabwe National Army is concerned with the continued wearing of military camouflage or apparel resembling military camouflage.
“Equally worrisome is the increase in criminal activities by individuals purporting or alleged to be members of the army,” he said.
Col Makotore said in one of the most recent cases, one bogus soldier Langton Munhundagwa, using the pseudonyms Sibanda or Wellington Zivhu committed a number of crimes in areas around Kwekwe and Zhombe while claiming to be a member of the army.
Munhundagwa, is alleged to have been going around extorting money and invading mines on the pretext that he was a solider.
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He said members of the public were reminded that the Defence Act prohibited and criminalised the wearing of camouflage by individuals who were not members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
“Section 99 (2) (c) of the Defence Act prohibits members of the public from wearing any kind of military regalia. The section states that: “Any person who, without authority, wears or uses any decoration supplied to or authorised for use by any member of the Defence Forces or other military forces or any decoration so nearly resembling such decoration as to be likely to deceive shall be guilty of an offence.”
He said members of the public were strongly advised not to sell or purchase any items of military camouflage or apparel resembling such. Those caught on the wrong side of the law risked being prosecuted.
He urged members of the public to report any criminal activities by persons purporting to be soldiers to the nearest police station or the Zimbabwe Military Police Investigations Branch.
Reports were also supposed to be made to any persons seen wearing camouflage outside cantonment areas.