Sunday, 24 July 2016

Eight gold panners left for dead in Shurugwi turf war

About eight gold panners in Shurugwi were left nursing serious injuries all over their bodies after they were ambushed and assaulted with machetes by rival panners as they fought for control of a rich gold mine claim.

The incident, which happened last Wednesday left eight panners nursing wounds amid claims that seven grams of gold was stolen and a bore mill destroyed at Olympic 18 mine.

The incident was confirmed by the spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation Mr Dosman Mangisi.

He said the groups fighting for control of Wanderers and Olympic 18 mines were all illegal, adding that the owners of the two mines should formally write to the police for their intervention.

“Yes, there were skirmishes in Shurugwi where over 36 illegal miners were bussed to assault a rival group. A group of illegal miners that was panning in Wanderers and Olympic 18 gold claims clashed,” said Mr Mangisi.
Eight gold panners left for dead in Shurugwi turf war
Mr Sylvester Musikizwa, owner of Olympic 18 mine told Sunday News that his bore mill machine which he uses to grind stones for gold was destroyed during the fights. He said his security guard was also assaulted and lost seven grams of gold in the process.

“Some illegal gold panners armed with machetes, axes and sticks pounced on my claim and attacked people mining gold. Eight were injured some of them seriously. My machine was destroyed in the process,” said Mr Musikizwa.

Sources said the feuding panners clashed accusing each other of encroaching into each other’s tunnels underground.

“The feud started after gold panners from Boncer mine encroached into Wanderers mine after there was a gold rush and started panning. The Wanderers miners retaliated by destroying a pump that was at Boncer mine leading to a nasty war which left scores injured,” said a source close to the gold claim wars.

Mr Maxwell Tatita (23) one of the gold panners who was severely assaulted said he lost two fingers during the fights.

“One of Wanderers mine gold panners used a knife to chop my two fingers, right now l don’t know how I will fend for my family, l used to survive on gold panning,” said Tatita.

“They blocked all the ways that we could have used to run away, they caught us unaware and we were not armed to fight them.”

Never Sibanda, another panner said he was struck on the head with a machete. He is nursing the head injury from his home. Sunday News
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