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Machete gang robs rival miner of US$15 000

By Mashudu Netsianda

A gang of 11 machete-wielding illegal gold panners allegedly invaded a gold mine in Zhombe in the Midlands and attacked a rival while he was prospecting for gold before robbing him of US$15 000 and extensively damaging his vehicle.

Suspected machete gang members form a human chain while being led into a holding cell at Mazowe Police Camp. On the right are machetes that were recovered at Jumbo Mine. — Pictures: Innocent Makawa
FILE PICTURE: Suspected machete gang members form a human chain while being led into a holding cell at Mazowe Police Camp. On the right are machetes that were recovered at Jumbo Mine. — Pictures: Innocent Makawa

The victim sustained a fractured left arm and a broken leg following the attack by the accused persons who used axes, pick handles, shovels and machetes. They also stole the complainant’s two cellphones.

The gang accused the victim, Conilious Dube of shooting dead one of their colleague’s brother. The incident occurred at Forever Gold Syndicate Mine.

This emerged when one of the suspects, Obey Mbano (20) of Kwekwe approached the High Court seeking bail pending trial. He is facing charges of attempted murder, malicious damage to property and theft.

Mbano connived with Shepherd Marezva (24), Stephen Hwata, Isaac Moyo who are already in custody, Bawu Chiundura, Samuel Uranda, Denford Uranda, Godfrey Uranda, Proud Mhosva, Tinotenda Mudyandigere and Kudzai Chiundura who are all still at large, to fatally attack and rob Dube.

Mbano, through his lawyers CT Mugabe and Associates, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.

In his bail statement, Mbano offered to pay $5 000 bail and to report once a week at Zhombe Police Station as part of the bail conditions.

He also offered to continue residing at his given address in Samambwa village in Zhombe and not interfere with State witnesses until the finalisation of the matter.

In his bail statement, Mbano is denying the charge, arguing that he only acted in self-defence after his brother had been shot dead by the complainant and his assailants.

“The applicant further avers that the extent of injuries are exaggerated and did not at any time damage complainant’s vehicle nor did he steal his money,” argued Mbano’s lawyers.

“It is further submitted that the charges faced by the applicant are hereby challenged and disputed and yet to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The applicant submits that he has the onus on a balance of probabilities that he is a suitable candidate for bail.”

The State, which was represented by Mr Blessing Gundani, opposed the application, arguing that they were compelling reasons warranting the accused person’s continued detention. He argued that Mbano was a flight risk having been on the run until his arrest two weeks later in Gokwe following a tip off.

“It is not disputed that the applicant fled his home in Zhombe after committing the offence. He was arrested two weeks later in Gokwe, and in casu, the State stands high chances of sustaining a conviction.

The accused faces a lengthy prison term, which is highly likely to induce him to abscond trial if released on bail,” he said.

According to court papers, it was stated that on July 21 this year at around 10PM, Mbano and his accomplices went to Forever Gold Syndicate Mine in Totororo, Zhombe, armed with machetes, shovels, axes, pick handles and found the victim prospecting for gold.

They allegedly confronted him before indiscriminately attacking him all over the body as they accused him of shooting their brother dead.

The complainant sustained a fractured left arm, broken left leg and multiple cuts on the head. They allegedly went on to extensively damage his car, a Toyota Hilux Twin Cab and stole US$15 000 and two cellphones, which were in the car. After committing the offence, they fled the scene leaving the victim lying unconscious.

Mbano, Marezva, Hwata and Moyo were arrested following a tip off and they are in custody. The other accomplices are still at large. The Chronicle