44-year-old illegal miner murdered

Paul Nyathi

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in West Nicholson, Matabeleland South Province is investigating a murder case where a 44-year-old man was allegedly murdered by a 22-year-old man at Base One illegal gold panning site along Umzingwane River.

Rudairo Mapuranga

The news has come shortly after a report that the Police in Bulilimamangwe, Matabeleland South is investigating a case of murder were a 37-year-old artisanal miner was allegedly killed by his younger brother (23) following an argument to share gold proceeds.

According to Police spokesperson Asst Comm Paul Nyathi, the Victim, Okay Shoko was attacked with stones and a spear by Disire Sibanda and two other unidentified suspects.

“ZRP West Nicholson is investigating a case of murder which occurred on 2/08/22 at around 1300 hours at Base One illegal gold panning site along Umzingwane River.

“The Victim, Okay Shoko (44) died after he was attacked with stones and a spear by Disire Sibanda (22) and two other unidentified suspects. The suspects accused the victim of having beaten them sometime in 2021,” Nyathi said.

Reports of violence in the artisanal mining sector has been on a decline following the commencement of operation No to Machete gangs which was introduced by the police in 2019 following series of murders around the small-scale mining communities.

A 2019 report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project stated that At least 105 people were murdered all in a space of three months in Zimbabwe’s violent prone mining areas of Kadoma and other neighbouring districts.

The Police since January this year have arrested 29 887 people under operations no to machete gangs. The operation is meant to restore sanity in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector.

Illegal Miners are mostly a target of criminals usually referred to as machete gangs who have been causing havoc in the ASM sector.

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According to Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the operation is ongoing and Police have covered all the provinces.

Machete-wielding criminals are notorious for pouncing on small-scale and artisanal miners, stealing their gold or gold ore and smuggling processed gold to neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana through the country’s porous borders.

The Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has called miners to formalize their operations by adhering to the dictates of the law to avoid a situation where work is constantly being disrupted by law enforcement agents.

According to ZMF President Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, the Federation has a zero-tolerance mantra of no to illegal mining.  She said that the organisation’s offices are open for everyone to come and get investment advice.

“As small-scale miners, we are saying it is a crime to mine illegally in the country. And we are saying zero tolerance to illegal mining. We should be seen as being associated with constructive and proper mining, constructive in the sense that our mining should be guided by principles as stated in the Mines and Minerals Act.  People are advised and allowed to come to our ZMF offices to find out how best they can be linked with proper mining houses and how best they get tributes from other registered miners,” Madam Rushwaya said.

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