Blood Diamonds:Four Soldiers shot dead at Chiadzwa

chiwengwa Army commander Constantine Chiwenga
Four soldiers have died at Chiadzwa diamond fields,the bodies were found with gunshot wounds in suspicious circumstances on Saturday.

The details surrounding the deaths are still sketchy, but sources close to the investigations said last Saturday at around 6am, the first two bodies with gunshot wounds were found lying about 400 metres from one of the bases established by security agents charged with bringing order to the diamond fields.

Police spokesman Superintendent Andrew Phiri said: We dont know what exactly happened and investigations are still in progress.

It was not clear if one of them had shot dead his colleague before turning the gun on himself or if the two had been shot by a third person.

In the second incident the following day, the soldiers involved were part of a detachment manning a roadblock between Mutare and Chiadzwa.

It is alleged that the two soldiers – reportedly an officer and a junior- had a heated argument.

The senior soldier is said to have been disarmed by his superior. But a few hours later he was given back his rifle and then threatened to shoot his colleagues manning the roadblock.

The soldier then shot the officer, who died instantly, before turning the gun on himself. He died on the spot.

It is still to be ascertained how many shots were fired though a vehicle with bullet holes was spotted in the vicinity of this second shooting

The two who were found shot are Private Gurure and Private Tshuma while those who died in the suspected murder and suicide are Lance Corporal Musonza and Sergeant Pfavai.

The Chiadzwa fields used to be managed by De Beers, the South African mining giant. After independence, De Beers sold its franchise to African Consolidated Resources (ACR), a British company. Two years ago the government confiscated the fields and handed them to the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, which never got round to doing any extraction of diamonds.

Instead, thousands of Zimbabweans and other Africans swarmed over the 170-acre site in one of the greatest diamond rushes the continent has seen in modern times.

It is believed that hundreds died as the fields fell into lawlessness and violence. Diggers began arming themselves with handguns. Sometimes there were as many as 4,000 hand-panners searching for diamonds. Among them were army and police officers who had deserted but were still in uniform. Local children stopped attending school and many schools failed to open because teachers and pupils were digging in the fields.

While the government was not formally involved in extracting the diamonds, members of ZANU(PF) elite and army commanders were enriching themselves. Using their own diggers and traders, to whom they paid paltry sums, they sold the diamonds outside the country –

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