By Pamela Shumba
More than 10 people have been hospitalised following a bloody attack by illegal gold panners in Inyathi, Bubi District.
The victims were rushed to Inyathi District Hospital while one was transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo after being attacked by omakorokoza with machetes, knives and stones.
It is believed that the gold panners were searching for a rival gang when they ended up indiscriminately attacking people at a bar.
The incident occurred at Senco Night Club, Mahamba Business Centre at about 11PM on Friday.
Running battles have been reported in the area allegedly over occupancy of mining claims, most of which have been abandoned.
The Chronicle visited one of those who were attacked, Mr Martin Khabo — a soldier on leave — at Mpilo Central Hospital yesterday and he narrated his ordeal.
Mr Khabo said he passed out after being attacked by a machete and stones.
He said more than 10 people were taken to Inyathi District Hospital with some injuries and he was caught up in a crossfire as he was not involved in mining activities.
“I had gone to the business centre to spend some time with friends as usual. We went to Sencor Night Club and at about 11PM, I decided to go home. As I was going out I was shocked to see scores of people stampeding back into the night club.
“I saw a group of men carrying machetes and knives. Before I knew it, I was attacked with a machete on the back of my head and several other people were also attacked. There was chaos as people screamed and tried to run away,” said Mr Khabo.
He said he tried to escape but was attacked with a stone on the head and he fell unconscious.
Bubi Small-Scale Miners’ Association secretary general Mr Benjamin Ndlovu confirmed the incident.
“I received the information yesterday and I was disturbed. Illegal gold miners from other areas have swamped the mining area and this has created fierce feuds.
“The local leadership, including security forces, political and traditional leaders should tackle this issue as a matter of urgency and bring it to an end,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Ward 11 Councillor Siwela Siwela said the incident occurred when he was away and was yet to get reasons behind the attack.
Acting Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Eglon Nkala could not immediately comment on the matter. The Chronicle