AN alleged ringleader of a gang of gold panners linked to an Esigodini gold baron died on Monday night after his right foot was chopped off in a mass fight over a mining claim in Filabusi.
Qalisani Moyo, popularly known as Friday of Sanale area in Filabusi, had been released from remand prison a few days earlier having been arrested for assaulting police officers. He allegedly committed the crime in the company of his gang in a bid to force police to release some robbery suspects.
During that incident, Moyo and his squad also allegedly destroyed a police vehicle and deflated its tyres with Okapi knives.
He went into hiding until his arrest last week and the unnamed Esigodini gold baron allegedly paid his bail. Moyo died before he could appear in court tomorrow following bloody clashes pitting two rival groups over the control of the gold claim at HeyHill Farm.
When a Chronicle news crew arrived in Filabusi yesterday morning, Moyo’s body was still lying at the murder scene. Police were also present, conducting investigations.
The bushy area at HeyHill Farm resembled a battlefield. Moyo’s body was lying about 500 metres from the claim in a thicket. It had scars on the forehead, a deep cut above the left eye and another on the chin. His right foot was chopped off.
“A team of detectives from Gwanda and detectives from Filabusi were still at work.
According to sources, Moyo was allegedly assigned by the Esigodini gold baron to lead a gang of about 50 gold panners to wrestle Mosentase gold claim at HeyHill Farm for his boss.
The gang was allegedly ferried to the area in three trucks belonging to the Esigodini gold baron and dropped off along the Mbalabala–Zvishavane Road allegedly armed with machetes, pangas, axes, picks and shovels.
On arrival, they reportedly started attacking the other group which was mining at the claim, leading to Moyo’s fatal axing. Several people including members of his gang and those from the rival group sustained serious injuries.
In an interview at the scene, Zanu-PF district chairperson for Insiza, Cde Njabulo Ndlovu who is resettled at the farm where the claim is situated said the incident occurred at around 10PM on Monday.
“We saw the gang leaving Filabusi in trucks belonging to their boss coming to this area. In the morning a member of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee (NWC) came to me and advised me of the scuffle and screams which emanated from the mine. We then went to investigate and bumped into this body,” said Cde Ndlovu.
Another resettled farmer who is also the ruling party’s branch chairman, Cde Domain Moyo said for some time there was talk that the Esigodini gold baron wanted to take over the gold claim.
“Yesterday they phoned that he had dispatched his gang coming here armed with machetes, pangas, shovels, picks, axes and an assortment of other weapons. In the morning, Msongelwa Juba, a member of NWC came to me and we went to investigate and found the body. We discovered that he was not from this area and we concluded that he was a member of the Esigodini gold baron’s gang,” he said. Chronicle