Villagers in Buhera South are living in fear as landmines and other explosives buried by freedom fighters at different former bases during the liberation war, are being picked up by innocent children herding cattle, more than 40 years after independence.

This comes barely three months after two boys (aged five) were killed in a mortar bomb explosion at Murove Village.

One girl sustained a fractured leg, while two others had injuries of varying degree.

One of the children picked up the bomb while herding cattle and took it home thinking it would be a nice toy for her.

She left it outside the house and her brother and cousin (both aged five) tampered with the bomb until it exploded.

Another explosive was picked up by children whose parents used it as a “hammer” for close to two years not knowing it was dangerous.

Different types of explosives including 81 mm mortar bombs, 60mm mortar bombs, RPG7 rocket and RPG2 rokit have since been found by villagers who called the Zimbabwe National Army to collect them.

After the explosion that killed and injured children at Murove Village, the Zimbabwe National Army experts rolled out awareness campaigns, distributing charts and flyers showing pictures of the dangerous explosives.

They also took the campaign to schools.

More discoveries, according to the villagers, are attributed to the heavy rains that are washing away soils and exposing the explosives and weapons buried decades ago.

Since then, more explosives and war weapons are now being discovered but the ZNA section responsible for explosives is reportedly taking a long time to remove them.

When The Herald visited the constituency, a number of objects believed to be explosives were covered by leaves and tree branches at different points pending removal by soldiers.

Some villagers had gone for close to a month waiting for the explosives’ experts to come and remove the objects.

Buhera South legislator Cde Joseph Chinotimba said he had called the army bosses in Mutare several times but they were still to deploy soldiers to remove the suspected explosives.

“We called the bomb experts from the military to come and remove the explosives but they are taking a long. It is not safe to live with explosives in the villages where children play and herd cattle.

“On Monday, I had to personally call the Commander 3 Brigade (Herbert Chitepo Barracks) telling him of the fear gripping my constituency over uncollected explosives found in a number of villages in my constituency and he promised to send a team. We are still waiting but we do not feel safe with the explosives,” he said.

Cde Chinotimba said during the war, freedom fighters operating from bases in the constituency would hide their explosives and weapons and collect them when the need arose.