Five panners nabbed over mine murder

POLICE in Matabeleland South have arrested five suspected illegal miners, who allegedly killed a security guard and seriously injured two other people before forcing their way into Geelong Mine in Gwanda, on Tuesday morning.

By Linda Chinobva

Provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nkosilathi Sibanda confirmed the arrests yesterday.

“I can confirm that a security guard at Geelong Mine was on Tuesday morning murdered after an argument arose between him and illegal gold miners, who were demanding to see the documents of the mine, in a bid to clarify ownership,” he said.

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“We have since arrested five men who are assisting the police with investigations and we are yet to arrest more of them.”

The mine’s operations director, Freedom Murechu said some property was destroyed in the melee.

“One of our security man [sic], Tariro Magovanyika was murdered at the mine, while our finance director Ronald Ntini and supervisor Tonderai Gondongwe were injured on Tuesday around 8am when a group of more than 100 illegal miners invaded the mine and attacked us,” he said.

“The illegal miners were armed with axes, stones and shovels which they used to vandalise some of the property. Some of the mine workers escaped unharmed as they took cover during the attack.”

Murechu told the Southern Eye that one of the illegal miners fled with the mine’s paperwork and was later seen by passersby carrying the documents.

The angry mob are believed to have taken advantage of the absence of police deployed to protect the premises following the expiry of their contract and charged at the security guards manning the premises.

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