Shamva cop attacks fuelled by illegal gold deal gone bad

The door-to-door attacks by police that left one miner dead and several severely injured in Shamva South last week were the result of an illegal gold deal that had gone bad, according to local villagers.

Ten police officers are in custody, accused of the brutal attacks that killed Luxmore Chiwambo and sent nine others to hospital. They were arrested only after the provincial governor Martin Dinha interfered during angry demonstrations by the local villagers.

It was initially believed the attacks started after the wife of police Inspector Shumba was robbed of $1 and a cell phone at the Ashley Mill compound. But it has now been revealed that Chiwambo was targeted after Inspector Shumba’s wife realized she had been cheated.

Trusted sources told SW Radio Africa that she had been sold brass instead of gold. She then told her husband, who went back to Ashley Mill with nine junior officers late that night and broke down doors.

The incident angered villagers from Ashley Mill, who say they are tired of abuses by the police. In response to last week’s attacks, the Bindura Magistrates Court was last Friday swamped with dozens of villagers calling for the ten police officers to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

MDC-T organizing secretary for Shamva South, Leman Pwanyiwa, told SW Radio Africa that the local gold mines and commercial farms which used to provide jobs all closed down some years ago and people are struggling to make ends meet.

“So it’s not surprising that we have people involved in illegal activity just to try and survive. In particular people are lucratively engaging in these gold dealings,” Pwanyiwa explained. He added that ZANU PF controls the gold and only party members with strong financial backing get access.

“ZANU PF uses illegal activities to control the means of survival, especially for the youth in the constituency. You need to have ZANU PF history,” Pwanyiwa said.

Reports said officials now fear for the safety of the police officers accused of last Saturday’s violent and tragic attacks. Inspector Shumba was named as one of the more abusive police officers in the Shamva South district and vllagers said he has been looting with impunity and closing down shops at will.

According to the Daily News newspaper, the case may be transferred to Harare to protect them. – SW Radio Africa News

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