Machete gang invades mine, loots gold ore

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Illegal miners chisel through a rock in search of gold.

BY IRENE MOYO
A MACHETE gang has invaded Carry Mine complex in Hope Fountain outside Bulawayo and embarked on illegal mining activities.

Mine owner Bekezela Moyo told NewsDay yesterday that the machete gang was led by a female miner Peniah Macheka.

He said invasion of his mine occurred last month and the matter was reported to the police on Thursday.

Moyo said the machete gang had started illegally extracting gold and was disturbing operations.

“Macheka came to the mine and claimed to have been given legal rights to operate within our space. We tried to ask her to move out, but she did not listen,” Moyo said.

“We reported the matter to the Hillside Police Station.  I took police officers to the mine. To our surprise, there were about 30 men armed with machetes who attacked us as we tried to talk to Macheka.

“Some police officers were attacked and seriously injured while trying to rescue us from the attack.  They even seized an officer’s service pistol during the melee. There was only one police officer who remained and tried to negotiate with them to return the gun that they had taken.  Macheka then agreed to negotiate with the police and was arrested and later fined.”

He said he had since sent a letter to the police requesting for assistance to resolve the issue.

“Macheka was fined $20 000 and she is still there occupying the space. She continues to threaten me. Now I can’t even work because it is no longer safe to do so,” Moyo said.

In a statement yesterday, Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said two people were arrested for illegal mining, adding that among them were Macheka (49) from Selborne and Honest Dlamini (48) from Pumula South who were the top bosses of the machete gang.

“The accused loaded a nine-tonne truck with gold ore and when asked by police, she failed to produce a registration certificate of ownership of the mine, leading to their arrest,” the statement read.

Police urged members of the public to report illegal mining activities to prevent clashes that might result in injuries and loss of life.

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