More killings over Marange gems

The Marange death toll continues to mount as security guards manning the diamond fields have become heavy-handed in their efforts to dispel illegal panners.


The latest report by the Centre for Research Development notes that buyers milling around areas such as Nyanyadzi and Hot Springs are buying gems smuggled out by diamond sorters working in the plants.

A syndicate is said to be taking advantage of the porous security situation where hundreds of artisanal panners are accessing the diamond fields every night.

“Overwhelmed by these numbers, security guards manning the diamond fields have become heavy handed in their efforts to dispel illegal panners, leading to loss of life,” says the report.

On August 28, Marange Resources guards allegedly opened fire to a group of fleeing panners killing Elijah Manono. Another panner, Cleopas Mubuwa, was shot in the head and is said to be fighting for his life at Mutambara Hospital. Farai Madenga was reportedly shot twice in the head last month at Marange Resources when he was found panning in their tailings.

Shingirai Mujaji, 28, Tryson Zvenyika, 25 and Luckson Zvenyika, 28, informed CRD that unemployment drove them to risk their lives to pan for diamonds in Marange. The trio, who all come from Chiadzwa, were shot in the area on 27 August and had bullets embedded in various parts of their bodies.

CRD says the lack of transparency and accountability in the management of Marange diamonds explains the on-going human rights abuses and diamond leakages.

“Promises made by Minister (Walter) Chidhakwa to overhaul operations in Marange in order to promote sustainable mining of these diamonds has come to naught as communities continue to wallow in abject poverty,” says the organisation.

It reminded government of the need to expeditiously review mining contracts in Marange and bring on board “potential investors with the capacity to initiate change needed for mining investments to meet human rights standards.”

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