Machete-wielding panners commandeer villagers into disused mine

BY SILAS NKALA

A gang of machete and knives-wielding thugs recently allegedly rounded up some Zvishavane villagers, forcing them to enter Gudo disused mine to extract gold for them before one of the captives managed to escape and mobilised other villagers to confront the gang, leading to a bloody fight that saw one of the villagers being thrown into the disused mineshaft.

This was heard by Zvishavane provincial magistrate Shepherd Mjanja when two of the suspects Walter Mapfumo (28) and Ignatious Bungu (23), both of Pambura village, Zvishavane appeared before him separately charged with murder.

They were not asked to plead to the charge and were remanded in custody to April 23 and 24, respectively.

Prosecutor Taurai Muzvimwe told the court that on April 1 this year at 7:30pm, Mapfumo and Bungu in the company of Wilson Mapfumo, Ignatious Dundu and two others only identified as Brighton and Dikela, who are still at large, armed with machetes and homemade knives met the now deceased Trust Chitela, who was in
the company of Brighton Munyoro and Manford Gunya along a path near Mimosa Mine turn-off, Zvishavane.

The gang threatened to kill the complainant before force-marching them to Gudo disused mine located about 200 metres away.

The suspected thugs forced the villagers to enter the mineshaft and ordered them to extract gold for them. One of the captives, Munyoro managed to escape and advised the nearby villagers of the incident at the mine.

The villagers then teamed up to confront the suspected thugs. There was a bloody fight between the villagers and the thugs who attacked them with machetes and knives.

During the fight, Gunya and Chikela tried to escape from the mine through another exit prompting the suspected thugs to charge towards them before pushing Chikela into the approximately 75 metres deep disused mineshaft. He died instantly.

A report was made to the police and investigations led to the arrest of the two, while their alleged accomplices remain at large.

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