Zimbabwe fuel protests: Bulawayo turns into ghost city after looting

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BULAWAYO – Although government authorities ordered civil servants and the generality of Zimbabweans to go back to work Thursday (today), the city remains largely quiet with no movement as the country’s crippling shut down reaches the fourth day.

What further exacerbates uncertainty over the shutdown is that the internet remains jammed and most citizens who rely on social media, especially WhatsApp, for news, remain in an information black-out.

Assess to WhatsApp was temporarily restored yesterday between 4pm and 5pm but was immediately reshut down until Thursday with access only limited to email and selected websites.

In contrast to Monday and Tuesday protests which saw marauding youths barrickading all main roads and looting shops, especially in high density surbubs of Nkulumane, Pumula, Luveve, Sizinda and Lobengula. Wednesday was largely a “dead” day with Thursday likely to be the same.

Although there has been no death reported so far in the city, most shops were between Monday and Tuesday broken down and heavily looted, with Choppies retail supermarkets recording the major loss.

On Tuesday, thousands of prosters from different surbubs failed to break into Nkulumane Complex which houses Choppies supermarket, several retail shops and a government-run bank, the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) as riot police received a heavy back-up from the military following hours of running battles with daring protesters.

On Wednesday (yesterday), the area around Nkulumane Complex had been rendered a no-go-zone with a heavy presence of armed soldiers. But protesters were seen miling around from morning, ready to pounce, until they gave up later during the day.

Bulawayo’s eastern surbubs, according to reports, remained quiet and violence-free as from Monday, with most residents preferring a stay-away in their houses.

Source – The Citizen Bulletin