Civil society to visit Marange

Civil society in Zimbabwe is planning a tour of the controversial Marange diamond fields in order to get a clear picture of what is happening there.

The civil society grouping is seeking to visit the diamond fields that are still shrouded in secrecy and closed to the public.

“An invitation is hereby extended to all members of the Civil Society Coalition of Zimbabwe willing to visit the Marange-Diamond Fields and Arda Transau on the 9th March, 2012,” said Civil Society Coalition in Zimbabwe.

The diamonds were discovered in the eastern part of Zimbabwe in 2007 after a minor earthquake. The government drove locals out of the rich diamond fields and brought in the army and the police. The army moved in with dogs and helicopters. About 200 people are believed to have been killed.

Two Chinese companies and a Zimbabwean-owned company aligned to president Robert mugabe's party gave been licences to mine the diamonds.

It remains to be seen whether civil society will be allowed into the fields after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Members of Parliament were barred from visiting the diamond fields.

Zimbabwe was recently allowed to sale its diamonds by the Kimberly Process.

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