Murder At The Diamond Fields

Four illegal diamond miners are in police custody facing charges of murder after they killed a fellow diamond panner at the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields (above) in Marange, Eastern Zimbabwe, on Monday. Police openly admitted today that, although there is strong presence of armed forces at the diamond fields, illegal mining is still going on.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 03 September 2009

Four illegal gold dealers have been arrested for murder at the Diamond Fields of Chiadzwa in Eastern Zimbabwe.

The murdered diamond panner was accused of having stolen cattle by the accused.

The four accused are said to have met up with their fellow illegal diamond miner, who has not been named by police, at Chiadzwa diamond fields where they intended to pan for diamonds.

Upon meeting him they accused him of having stolen two cattle on Monday afternoon this week. He reportedly denied the charge and they started beating him up. They used logs and sticks to assault him.

After that, reports say they force-marched the man towards Bwizi village, where they say he had stolen the cattle.

But the man collapsed as they continued assaulting him. They assaulted him as he lay on the ground, thinking he was having them on. But they soon realised that they were now beating a corpse, at which point they went and reported the matter to the police.

Locals say the death could not have been about stolen cattle, since no report had been made to the police on Monday about it.

It is suspected that the fight and subsequent death is related to the diamond mining activities of these illegal panners. A deal could have gone sour.

Today, the police admitted publicly that, even though there are soldiers present at the diamond fields, illegal panners are still operating.

This betrays the fact that there are senior government people who have employed these gangs to continue with their activities, with the proceeds being smuggled as loose diamonds to China for polishing and onward sale on the world market, as I reported two weeks back.

There is now a new menace at the Chiadzwa Diamond fields, called "Magorimbo". These Magorimbo are basically highway robbers. They have organised themselves into gangs and they pounce on the few remaining diamond panners and rob them of their loose diamonds at the end of each day.

Police are suspicious that this may be the case in the death of this man, which is reported by the local media today. Alternatively, there could have been an argument over their spoils.

Bringing up the issue of stocktheft is probably a ploy because the government is especially tough on people who steal livestock, with Mugabe having publicly called for them to be "treated as murderers" at one rally last year.


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