TWO rival gold panning groups at Jongwe Farm in Goromonzi reportedly fought running gun battles on Wednesday, leaving one of panners seriously injured as the battle for the precious stone turned nasty.
BY Jairos Saunyama
Sources told NewsDay Weekender yesterday that the matter was reported at Goromonzi Police Station and the injured panner was taken to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where his condition was said to be stable.
Mashonaland East acting provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Tendai Mwanza could neither confirm nor deny the incident, referring questions to national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi, who confirmed the shooting.
“We confirm that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating the circumstances which led to a shooting incident involving rival miners at Jongwe Farm on April 10, 2018, where one person was seriously injured and is currently admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital. As police, we are appealing to members of the public that if they have disputes of any sort, whether it’s a transaction, they should not take the law into their own hands,” he said.
He also confirmed that the farm was now under guard and that the culprit is yet to be apprehended.
“We are conducting investigations and we will release more information as investigations progress. The ZRP and other security forces are currently in the process of bringing order at Jongwe Farm. So we are appealing to all concerned parties to co-operate with security services in this respect,” Nyathi said.
Sources said that a group from another area that was panning gold reportedly fired shots in the air in a bid to stop locals who were advancing towards them.
It is also reported that a man from the Goromonzi group continued advancing towards the mine shaft before he was shot on the hip.
The fracas, however, drew the attention of other security officers who intervened and dispersed the illegal miners. The mine fields are currently under heavy police guard.
A police source said the illegal panners were confronted by the locals who also wanted to mine for the precious material resulting in the clash.
“It was a terrible incident, they clashed and one member of the rival groups pulled a gun and shot someone on the backside. As we speak, the area is now under guard by security forces. The group from (another area) irked the locals who mobilised themselves and advanced to reclaim the mine,” the source said.
During the Easter holidays, 10 people were buried after a mine shaft they were working on collapsed.
It was reported that seven of the panners escaped unhurt before using shovels to retrieve two bodies of their counterparts. The panners, however, failed to retrieve the other body reportedly buried underground before reporting the matter to the police.
It is reported that police failed to access the area to retrieve the body as panners said they were disturbing their operations.