The government of Zimbabwe has deployed the military to work alongside the police to ensure that citizens adhere to the 21-day national lockdown restrictions.
Soldiers are complementing the police in manning roadblocks across the country and conducting patrols in suburbs to keep people off the streets.
Defense and War Veterans Affairs Deputy Minister Victor Matemadanda said the deployment of the military was not unusual as other governments across the world have done the same to deal with an emergency situation. Said Matemadanda:
At a personal level, I don’t get involved in an operational matter. That is for the Joint Operations Command (JOC). But obviously, when you see them working together as I have always said, they get involved at the request of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
But anyway, it’s not a new phenomenon in Zimbabwe, every other country that has taken (lockdown) measures has deployed the police and the army – all security agents to make sure that this is contained. If the deployment is being done now, I think Zimbabwe was even the last because everywhere else, soldiers are deployed because it is an emergency situation.
In Emabuthweni suburb, Bulawayo, police and soldiers were already carrying joint patrols on Sunday, forcing defiant residents to get off the streets.
Meanwhile, police announced on Sunday that nearly 2 000 people have been arrested countrywide for defying the lockdown restrictions put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus.
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