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Gang Leader Killed After 4 Years Of Terror

November 18, 1987

GWERU, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Thousands of people flocked to a police station here Wednesday for a glimpse of the bullet-riddled corpse of Zimbabwe’s most wanted fugitive.

Police say Richard Gwesela, a former guerrilla fighter, was a gang leader who terrorized the people of two provinces for four years.

Gwesela was alleged to have murdered 20 people in the Midlands and neighboring Matabeleland provinces. He also was said to have raped women and robbed villagers.

In silence, onlookers filed past his body sprawled beneath a wanted poster offering $30,000 for him, dead or alive.

Gwesela, billed by the state-controlled Zimbabwe media as the country’s most wanted man, was killed in a gunbattle with Zimbabwean security forces near Gweru on Sunday.

His death was reported for the first time Wednesday.

His mother and an uncle identified the corpse as Gwesela, and police fingerprints confirmed the identity.

″Gwesela had killed more than 20 people since he started operating in the area,″ Enos Nkala, home affairs minister in charge of police, told reporters. ″Now he is going to join them, whether in heaven or hell, we don’t know.”

Gwesela was once a guerrilla fighter in opposition leader Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union during the seven year independence war. After independence, he led followers into the Matabeleland bush and began terrorizing local villagers.”

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