By Andile Tshuma
One artisanal miner was shot dead while dozens were injured after an estimated 300 men were found illegally prospecting for minerals at the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) premises in Chiadzwa.
Sources who spoke to The Chronicle said artisanal miners had found a diamond rich area on the border of the ZCDC premises at a place known as Bravo in Muchena, Marange.
The deceased, whose identity is yet to be established, is suspected to be from Filabusi.
He is said to have been working with a team from Filabusi while other members of the gang that invaded the mine are from Shurugwi. A third contingent of the gang was said to be from Gokwe and Kwekwe.
Sources said the group was found digging on the premises of the diamond company by armed security guards, who failed to chase them away after firing warning shots.
According to sources, the guards started firing indiscriminately towards the illegal miners.
Sensing danger, said a source, the 300 men charged towards the guards.
ZCDC mining company spokesperson Mr Sugar Chagonda confirmed the incident yesterday.
“I can confirm that we encountered such an incident at the mine. One person died while several were injured. Police are dealing with investigations at the moment. Guards ordered people out of the premises but they wouldn’t budge.
“They fired warning shots but the group was not deterred. Instead the group started charging towards the security personnel, leading to the violent clash which unfortunately resulted in a life lost,” he said.
Mr Chagonda said the company was working to beef up security at the premises as the incident was not the first.
“Such incidents are becoming frequent and we are working to try and beef up security at the premises. It is quite unfortunate that a life was lost however, our security personnel were acting in self defence as they were dealing with armed people who outnumbered them,” he said.
Mr Chagonda said the security officers managed to apprehend some of the suspects who are assisting police with investigations.
“Police said the suspects are expected to appear in court soon. Some of the injured were hospitalised but the rest managed to flee. We hope those that were arrested will help police locate the rest.
“We are considering investing in new technologies to keep our area safe. We are engaging other security stakeholders on how best we can ensure that the premises and the mining products are also safe in line with global practices,” said Mr Chagonda.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa said he was not aware of the incident.
“I am not aware of the incident, it is news to me,” he said.
Reached for comment, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was also not aware of the matter. The Chronicle