Habakkuk Trust fights machete wars

CIVIC organisation, Habakkuk Trust yesterday took its Human Rights Day commemorations to Bubi, Matabeleland North, a hotbed of gold wars, in a bid to dissuade youths from engaging in violence.

By Silas Nkala

The commemorations were held at Kennilworth ward 19.

An artisanal miner in Nyathi, Bubi, was hacked to death last week in a turf war pitting rival gangs that include amaGokwe, amaNkayi, amaFilabusi, amaKwekwe and MaShurugwi.

Bubi is endowed with vast mineral deposits namely gold, lime, garnet, diamond, nickel and copper.
Habakkuk Trust chief executive Dumisani Nkomo said the celebrations held at Lukona Primary School grounds ran under the theme: Youth Standing Up For Human Rights; which is a United Nations theme aimed at celebrating the potential of the youth as agents of change.

“Bubi district is one of the resource-rich districts in Matabeleland region endowed with vast gold fields and other mineral deposits such as nickel and copper. However, some of the artisanal mining activities in the area are a menace as reports of attacks and killings within the gold fields where thousands of the young and the old eke out their living are continually increasing,” Nkomo told Southern Eye.

“Worrisome reports of co-ordinated killings, violent clashes by machetes gangs have become a common occurrence in these gold fields as gangs of artisanal miners fight for control. Statistical reports from the police operation dubbed, ‘No to Anarchy by Artisanal Miners’, released in the public media on December 6 notes, Matabeleland North having recorded the biggest number of arrested illegal artisanal miners with 546 offenders having been nabbed since March 2019.”

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Nkomo said that was an indication of the level of lawlessness caused by artisanal miners in the province as a whole.

He said unreclaimed mining pits also pose a threat to community members and animals in the district.
“Community members have been losing cattle, others injured due to severe damage of the environment. Habakkuk Trust, as a Christian advocacy organisation exists to promote respect and upholding of human rights by all citizens,” Nkomo said.

“The gold fields are dominated by the youth who have ceased respecting human dignity, fail to participate in community development. The celebration targeted to raise awareness on the importance of upholding human rights and enhancing understanding of the importance of dignity for all citizens at the same time promoting peaceful co-existence within gold fields.”

Villagers in Bubi live in abject poverty while social services like schools and clinics are few, resulting in them being forced to walk long distances to access services.

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