- March 3, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
A miner tied to a tree and severely tortured by his boss for allegedly stealing gold died on Sunday, four days after he was returned to his family barely clinging to life.
Fabian Mabhungu, 24, was abducted together with his friend Lenny Hwehwe, 25, after their boss only named as ‘Dread’ claimed they had declared gold with a shortfall of 70 grams worth US$3,400 at a mine in Shurugwi.
The men were driven to a wooded area in Chirumanzu where they were tortured over two days, allegedly on the orders of their boss.
Mabhungu was stripped naked and tied to a tree with webbing. He was whipped, punched and kicked for several hours on end until he lost consciousness.
Hwehwe was also so severely beaten doctors fear he will require a catheter to pass urine for the rest of his life.
Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende of Midlands police said they had launched a murder investigation.
Hwehwe was discharged from hospital on Monday, and was due to give a statement to the police.
He told reporters: “I’m in pain. We were abducted and assaulted over missing gold by our boss. That’s all I can say now.”
He said they were abducted on February 25 and savagely beaten for the next two days until they were freed on Thursday, reportedly after police began questioning ‘Dread’.
Fabian’s aunt, Theresa Mabhugu, said ‘Dread’ and his savage enforcers wanted the two artisanal miners to admit to stealing the gold, and reveal where they hid it.
She said Fabian and Hwehwe were returned to them on Thursday and they took them to Gweru Provincial Hospital where her nephew succumbed to his injuries.
“We have been to the police to file a report and we are also awaiting a post-mortem report,” she said.
Brutality against artisanal miners by mine owners is a common occurrence around Zimbabwe.
Last year, police arrested Kadoma miner Litten Chikowore after video emerged on social media showing him repeatedly striking a hapless man with a truncheon next to what appears to be a mine shaft.