By Freeman Razemba
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has urged members of the public to ignore messages circulating on social media alleging that there is a group of criminals kidnapping and beheading people, especially children.
Police have since warned members of the public against causing unnecessary panic by circulating such messages on WhatsApp.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi encouraged members of the public to ignore such messages.
“We encourage members of the public to ignore messages circulating on social media which cause alarm and despondency,” he said.
Chief Supt Nyathi said they were aware that messages were being circulated to the effect that in places such as Zvishavane, Binga, Masvingo, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo children had been kidnapped and beheaded.
“This is totally false information and we urge members of the public to verify any information or approach any nearest police station if they are suspicious of any such messages,” he said.
He said investigations were still in progress to bring to book perpetrators who were behind such messages.
“As security services we are conducting investigations and anyone caught circulating messages that will cause panic, alarm and despondency among members of the public will be dealt with in terms of the law,” Chief Supt Nyathi said.
Recently, sections of the public in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces went into panic mode following WhatsApp messages claiming that some schoolchildren had been kidnapped and beheaded in the last few days.
According to the hoax messages, the suspects were taking the heads to South Africa.
One of the WhatsApp messages alleged that some children had been kidnapped in Siachilaba, Binga while some pupils were beheaded in Chisuma outside Victoria Falls.
Similar messages were spread in Bulawayo on Tuesday that unknown people had kidnapped two children along Siyephambili Drive and Mzilikazi suburb.
This resulted with some parents resorting to accompany their children to school while teachers were encouraging pupils to move in groups.
However, police in Bulawayo dismissed the messages as untrue saying no report had been made.