Friday, 25 August 2017


FOUR illegal diamond panners who trespassed into the protected Chiadzwa diamond fields drowned in a dam on Monday night following a chase by Zimbabwe Consolidate Diamond Company (Pvt) Ltd (ZCDC) security guards.

The panners, who took to their heels with the guards in hot pursuit, fell into the dam full of slime. They got trapped and drowned.

ZCDC had to call the Police Sub-Aqua Unit to retrieve the bodies on Tuesday morning. They were later taken to Mutare Provincial Hospital for post-mortem.

Acting Manicaland police spokesman Sergeant Wiseman Chinyoka confirmed the incident.

“We heard the report but we have not received detailed information concerning the incident,” he said.

ZCDC chief executive officer Dr Moris Mpofu said the matter was now in the hands of the police.

“I was briefed by my security personnel about the incident. I don’t have much, but what I can tell you is that the illegal panners trespassed into the fields and they were spotted by our guards who subsequently chased them away. I am told that during the chase four of them fell into the dam and they drowned. You can contact the police to get more details,” he said.

Dr Mpofu said ZCDC has beefed up security around the mining concessions. He  urged locals to stay out.

“This is an unfortunate incident which could have been avoided had the illegal panners stayed out. It is dangerous for villagers to trespass into a protected area and we urge them to stay out. We have tightened our security because we want to safeguard that national resource and ensure it benefits the country and not individuals,” he said.

Last month, one illegal panner was killed while three others were seriously injured when security guards fired at more than 200 heavily armed diamond panners who broke into the miner’s premises.

The panners intended to pounce on the plant’s main diamond sorting room.

The illegal panners cut the security fence around the Red Zone of Portal A diamond mining area at the plant.

They were armed with wrenches and machetes, while singing threatening songs. As the illegal panners marched towards the main sorting room, they were intercepted by security guards manning the area.

The security guards ordered them to leave the mining site, but they resisted and threw stones at them.

One of the guards fired three warning shots in the air in a bid to disperse the illegal panners, but they kept on marching towards the sorting room.

Upon realising that they were now under fierce attack, the eight security guards started firing towards the advancing illegal panners.

Among other security measures, Dr Mpofu said ZCDC had introduced unmanned aerial surveillance equipment such as drones as a way of boosting security at the diamond rich fields. This comes amid concerns of connivance between rogue law enforcement agents manning the diamond fields and illegal panners who occasionally sneak in and mine the diamonds. Manica post


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