AT least 39 illegal gold miners allegedly stormed Turtle 54 Mine in Silobela last week and stole gold and cash after they outnumbered the mine’s armed security staff.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Six of the 39 suspects appeared before Kwekwe magistrate Taurai Manwere early this week charged with robbing the mine of 33,3 grammes of gold and $5 995 during the raid.
It is the State case that Thokozani Nyoni (26), Kudakwashe Chikwanda (18), Mongale Dube (21), Bongani Dube and Johane Moyo (19) broke into the mine after they outnumbered the mine security and stole the gold ore and cash.
“Armed with machetes, logs and stones, while chanting liberation songs with the intention to invade the mine (accused persons) marched towards the premises,” reads the State outline.
“The guards reported to the police who came to the mine armed with tear-gas. Together with mine security they fired shots into the air and tear-gas in an attempt to disperse the illegal panners, but they soon ran out of ammunition.”
The State alleges that after the Zimbabwe Republic Police officers and the mine’s security staff ran out of ammunition, the invaders broke into the mine.
“The police and security ran out of ammunition and called for reinforcements, accused persons took advantage of the situation and broke into the premises,” read the State outline.
The six accused persons are alleged to have gone to complainant, Adlam Stephanus’ room where they assaulted him with sticks before stealing cash and gold and then disappeared.
The six allegedly shared the money and were only arrested three days later, leading to the recovery of $808 from Nyoni who implicated two other accused persons who are still on the run.
The court denied them bail and remanded the matter to March 7.