Red-mercury hoax costs lives

The fatal explosion in Sunningdale on Monday reminiscent of the one that killed several people and destroyed a house in Chitungwiza last year should serve as a strong warning to communities that “strange objects” should never be tampered with.




In both the Sunningdale and Chitungwiza explosions, eyewitnesses confirmed that those who detonated the devices were trying to prise them open. There is a myth going round that explosives such as landmines contain “red mercury” used to purify gold especially by illegal gold miners.

The red-mercury hoax has been costing lives for decades worldwide as people have tampered with explosives in search of this mythical substance. The Wikipedia notes that the first hoax was reported in 1979 and was commonly discussed in the media in the 90s with prices as high as $1 800 000 per kg being touted.

The public needs to be warned that there is nothing called red mercury contained in bombs that fetches thousands of dollars on the black market. It is a myth and people should not die pursuing a myth even when economic problems bite.

After the Chitungwiza explosion, police spokesperson Charity Charamba warned the public that there could be some people going around stealing and selling bombs making people believe that red mercury was found inside them and it fetched millions of dollars on the market. People should heed that warning and report anyone they see with suspicious-looking objects to the police.

We should remember that Zimbabwe got its independence after a protracted liberation war where explosives such as landmines were used and obviously remnants of arms caches with such dangerous devices are littered around the country. This makes certain individuals have access to small explosives and the unscrupulous ones can retrieve them and sell them to the gullible public who might lose their lives in search of the non-existent substance.

We should also remember that certain urban areas like Zengeza and Entumbane were used as assembly points by returning combatants during the ceasefire period in 1980 and there could be explosives lying around in those areas. It is incumbent upon citizens to ensure the safety of humans and property by reporting any strange-looking objects to the police. Citizens should also be vigilant enough to report strangers who bring strange objects to their areas. The Chitungwiza-Sunningdale experience has shown that anonymous people brought these explosives and disappeared when disaster struck.

The police and other experts should also play their part by carrying out awareness campaigns so that those not in the know are enlightened. This could go a long way not only in preventing the loss of lives, but also in assisting in the arrest of the culprits dealing in these dangerous explosives.


  1. Chirandu vekuTexas

    Inga marukesheni ari muna seke rd arikungoita achiputika kutanga kwegore rega rega next time kumaavenues zvirikuita zvichisvika oadhuze netaundi each year

  2. Thanx for the article but i think that the media should also write more articles that are infomative and educative .mapepanhau munowanza kunyora about politics and zvecoruption which is good but munozokanganwa kuti u are a strong weapon in educating vanhu about differnt things also .ipapa inyaya yatopera so makumirira panofa mumwe kuti muzotipa imwe warning .research these things and educate people you never know who will be saved

  3. Terence urikurasika papi nhai iwe? Basa rekudzidzisa nekutondedza vanhu nenjodzi yekubatabata ma objects atisina ruziwo nawo nge ma Purisa wachibatsirwa ne mauto e Bomb Squad.
    Mapepa nhau anongo kuudzai nezvirikuitika. wakatora basa rewamwe wanopedzesera wakutaura zvawasina ruziwo nazvo. Zvinozowa wors that the dangerous objects we are talking about.

  4. nyaya yema object atisina ruzivo navo yakagara iripo, vanhu inhubu chete.zvakabva kuitika last year tatokanganwa kare.kana anodzidzisa vacho munoda kuti aita sei? chiri kutoshamisa ndechokuti zviri kuitwa nevanhu vakuru chaivo,tiri isu tinekaruzivo.kana mukati irimo mercury yacho, kuzungaira kuedza kuvhura landmine, kubereka ngwena,unotodyiwa chete.

  5. the red mercury thing is a hoax, there is nothing like red mercury , zimbabweans take it from me
    and also pass that to your children. Once you start following the red mercury hoax, be rest assured that you will spill blood.

  6. @reaon- many thanks for this!

  7. it was a setup by Tony Blayer and america

  8. Ipapo ndapanzwa pekuti mapurisa ndiwo anodzidzisa vanhu asi handiti platform yacho yekudzidzisa vanhu ndiwo mapepa nhau here.research includes kutobvunza vacho vaneruzivo.but i wasnt talking of only yekuputika kwezvinhu uku kunezvimwe zvakawanda zvinofanirwa kubuda mumapepa umu to just warn people of some real dangers even if the police say or proffesionals say but vemapepa let them be the platform that lets people know of wat the experts say.

  9. The problem is that people are no longer scared of explosive materials. People have been injured by exploding fire-crackers thrown at them while walking (torn lips, dislodged fingers,burnt hands and faces etc). Besides the irritating noise, these things must be banned as mostly kids handle them and they are dangerous.Fuel tankers have exploded in urban areas where their drivers park them in residential areas, at every residential street corner, gas is sold and there is a strong smell of gas with no due regard to safety and it only takes a passing motorist to throw a cigarette butt out of his vehicle window and the whole area explodes. Unskilled people are blasting rocky areas with dynamite to deepen their wells and even out their rocky house foundations. People buying petrol at filling stations using unsuitable containers for their home generators which are exploding…and now people trying to open bombs… ,very,very scary,

  10. masangishenzi

  11. chief Zombejena

    Mercury is present in almost all motion activated bombs. It is contained in switches that detonate bombs. Iwo malandmines azere muno irimo. Musanyepere vanhu. Vaudzei chokwadi. Irimo asi musaabate mabhombha please Rufu!!


    Zimbabwe’s economy is in è intensive care. The poor majority can do anything to survive.

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