By Richard Muponde
A MBERENGWA gold panner is recovering from his hospital bed at United Bulawayo Hospitals after his stomach was ripped open by fellow gold panners, reportedly to retrieve a gold nugget he had swallowed.
The incident happened on March 30 in Mberengewa when the victim, Batanai Mukorovoli, was part of a group of gold panners who were searching for gold using detectors.
It was reported that Mukorovoli picked a gold nugget which other panners also saw, and they wanted to wrest it from him.
Realising that he was about to be robbed of the precious metal, Mukorovoli reportedly swallowed it.
A scuffle then ensued, with the other panners trying to retrieve it from his mouth, but realised he had swallowed it.
They allegedly drew knives and ripped open his stomach to retrieve the gold, but Mukorovoli was saved by other panners who immediately reported the matter to the police.
He was rushed to Mberengwa Clinic and transferred to UBH, where he was admitted on April 1, with a surgical procedure performed on him on April 5.
Contacted for comment, Midlands provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende said she was still in consultation with the Mberengwa police.
“I have called someone in Mberengwa to give me an update on the issue,” she said.
UBH spokesperson Nobuhle Thaka confirmed that Mukorovoli was admitted at the health institution.
“I can confirm that we have such a patient. He is receiving treatment at this institution,” she said.
A source at the health institution said Mukorovoli was recovering well after a successful surgery to correct his waste passage, but would not say if the gold nugget was discovered in his system.
“He underwent a successful surgery on April 5 and his life is out of danger,” the source said.
“Doctors had to insert a pipe, so that he removes waste through the stomach area until his whole system heals and a correctional surgery be conducted again so that he defecates normally. He has not been able to defecate from the time he was admitted here.”