TENSION has risen in Chiadzwa where villagers have accused security guards employed by diamond mining firms of using unorthodox measures to scare them from getting near the sites including setting dogs on villagers looking for their cattle.
Villagers and the diamond-mining firms in Chiadzwa have always had a tense relationship since 2008 with villagers accusing the miners of stifling their movements.
The diamond mines on the other hand accused the villagers of trespassing into the mining sites for purposes of panning.
Chiadzwa Community Development Trust chairman Malvern Mudiwa told NewsDay last Friday that villagers were now living in fear after a Marange villager, Bonnyface Kusena (27) was heavily assaulted by a security guard who set a policing dog on him.
Kusena was medically examined at Mutare Provincial Hospital where his injuries were deemed serious on Friday.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the continued physical harassment of Chiadzwa villagers by security personnel at the diamond mining companies in Marange,” Mudiwa said.
“If they think we cannot co-exist then they should relocate us.”
He said that villagers were willing to cooperate in flushing out illegal diamond panners in Chiadzwa.
“We also don’t encourage panning of diamonds but it will be wrong for the miners to think that everyone moving around Marange is a panner. We have our livestock which at times can go near the mining areas. So, before they set their dogs on people they should think about that,” Mudiwa said.
The injured Kusena also told NewsDay that security guards unleashed a vicious dog on him while he was looking for his cattle at the nearby dam.
“On Wednesday as I was checking on our cattle at a local dam, I met the security guards who had their dogs and one of them set his dog on me,” Kusena of Betera village said.
“As I was fighting the dog, the security guard kicked me all over with his booted feet and as the medical report is confirming, I suffered a lot of pain. I reported the matter to police in Marange and they asked me to undergo a medical examination. So we will wait to see how they will deal with the matter.”
In 2012, a senior police officer Joseph Chani was jailed 18 years after High Court judge Hlekani Mwayera found him guilty of causing the death of a villager whom he brutally assaulted for being an illegal diamond miner.