TWELVE suspected armed men who included members of the Zimbabwe National Army and civilians recently stormed Chinese-owned Anjin Diamond Mine reportedly walking away with 10kg of diamond ore.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
Four of the suspects, including two Harare-based soldiers Lieutenant Victor Zindonda (30) and Brighton Mazo (26) from 2 Brigade, Cranborne, and their civilian accomplices Tazeni Machingura (33) and Tinashe Mwashita (27) both from Mutare, appeared before Mutare magistrate Noah Gwatidzo on Monday for initial remand.
They were remanded in custody to February 5 after the State opposed bail.
According to the State papers, one of the accomplices, Edmore Chingarande, died after he shot himself as police were closing in on them.
Charges against the four are that on January 18 this year, they connived to go and steal the diamond ore at Anjin Diamond Mine.
They drove to the mine using two vehicles, a Honda Fit registration number ACV2895 owned by Machingura and an Isuzu KB 250 registration number ABD6240 owned by Mwashita.
The State alleges that the suspects were dressed in army uniform and armed with AK-47 assault rifles.
At the mine, the suspects allegedly stormed plant number 5 where they used bolt cutters to cut the security fence and threatened to shoot the security guard on duty.
They later broke the cage where the diamond ore was stored and loaded about 10kg of the ore into bags.
The court also heard that during the process, some alert security guards intercepted the robbers and in an attempt to scare them off, the accused fired 12 rounds into the air before making off with the 10kg loot.
Bail was opposed out of fear that the suspects could abscond and Zindonda, who is a senior officer in the army, was likely to intimidate his juniors who are witnesses in the case.
The accused are also well known to the villagers in Marange area and if released on bail, the State feared, they were likely to intimidate some of the witnesses.
The accused were represented by Mutare lawyer Farai Matinhure.