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Liquor outlet operator arrested after drunken videos of minors go viral

HARARE — Zimbabwean police arrested a man who allegedly supplied liquor to 11 minors whose drunken videos went viral on social media, authorities said Friday.

Phaeteon Mutiyaya, 23, was charged with supplying liquor to minors and operating an illegal shebeen, or informal bar, at his apartment in Mbare, a low-income suburb of Harare, police spokesman Paul Nyathi said in a statement.

Police seized a large quantity of alcohol, including beer, whisky, gin, vodka and wine, from Mutiyaya’s shebeen, Nyathi said.

Police also identified and located the other nine minors who joined two children from Epworth, another poor suburb, in drinking alcohol in downtown Harare on Christmas Day, Nyathi said. The children, aged between 5 and 11, used money they received as Christmas gifts to buy alcohol, he said.

The children’s parents and guardians were also found and questioned by police, Nyathi said.

He warned liquor outlet operators not to sell or supply alcohol to anyone under 18, saying they would face arrest and prosecution under the Liquor Act.

The arrest came after police launched investigations into some beer outlets and individuals across the country who were suspected of selling alcohol to minors on Christmas Day, following the circulation of several videos on social media showing children drinking and dancing.

Police said some of the beer outlets could lose their licenses if found guilty of violating the law.