Il­le­gal pan­ners fight for gold­fields con­trol Po­lice fire warn­ing shots to stop skir­mishes GANGS IN 7-HOUR BAT­TLE

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqo­bile Tshili and Mashudu Net­sianda

PROM­I­NENT Esigo­dini busi­ness­man, Baron Dube has been ar­rested for al­legedly in­cit­ing a group of il­le­gal gold pan­ners to at­tack his ri­vals in a fight to con­trol gold­fields.

Dube (41) and Mthulisi Ng­wenya (33), the ring leader of the ri­val group, both from Ha­bane Town­ship jointly ap­peared be­fore Esigo­dini res­i­dent mag­is­trate Lungile Ncube yes­ter­day fac­ing charges of in­cite­ment to com­mit pub­lic vi­o­lence.

They were both re­manded in cus­tody to Au­gust 2 for bail ap­pli­ca­tion. Dube is be­ing rep­re­sented by Ms Noz­abelo Ndlovu of Kos­sam Ncube and Part­ners while Ng­wenya is a self ac­tor.

The pair is ac­cused of in­cit­ing a group of youths from of their camps to en­gage in pub­lic vi­o­lence.

Dube leads a group from Fi­l­abusi while Ng­wenya is the ring leader of the Nkayi group. The two ri­val camps were in­volved in skir­mishes over the con­trol of gold fields in Esigo­dini.

Six­teen mem­bers from both groups among them, four ju­ve­niles, also ap­peared be­fore the same mag­is­trate fac­ing charges of pub­lic vi­o­lence. They were re­manded in cus­tody to Au­gust 11.

Prose­cut­ing, Jefta Nyikadz­i­nashe said on July 28, Dube en­gaged the ser­vices of Eric Ny­oni and sev­eral oth­ers who were not iden­ti­fied to at­tack a group of il­le­gal gold pan­ners from Nkayi.

The court heard that Dube trans­ported the group from Fi­l­abusi to Esigo­dini Busi­ness Cen­tre where the clashes took place.

Ng­wenya com­mu­ni­cated with Nkosiyazi Moyo and Sicelo Mkhwananzi and in­cited them to at­tack Dube’s group.

The court heard that shortly af­ter 10.30AM, the ri­val groups met at Ha­bane Busi­ness Cen­tre and they were in­volved in run­ning battles, at­tack­ing each other us­ing stones, iron bars and ma­chetes.

Res­i­dents who spoke the Chron­i­cle yes­ter­day said vi­o­lence by the two groups started shortly af­ter 7AM and lasted for sev­eral hours. Po­lice had to be called in to quell the sit­u­a­tion and they fired three warn­ing shots to stop the vi­o­lence.

“It all started af­ter a pan­ner from Nkayi was seen wear­ing a hat be­long­ing to a mem­ber of a gang from Fi­l­abusi. The man from Nkayi had taken the head­gear from a pros­ti­tute and was spot­ted by the other re­sult­ing in a fight,” said Khu­lani Ndlovu.

He said the pan­ner from Nkayi re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice and on his way back he found the two groups al­ready en­gaged in skir­mishes.

“They started fight­ing at about 8AM and the battles con­tin­ued un­til 3PM. Po­lice came and had to fire warn­ing shots to stop the fight.

They were about 30 peo­ple who were fight­ing and sadly these peo­ple are not lo­cals but came all the way from Nkayi and Fi­l­abusi in search of gold,” he said.

A lo­cal busi­ness­man who de­clined to be named said the battles were a threat to their busi­nesses as they were at times forced to close shop to avoid be­ing caught in cross-fire.

Baron Dube Ri­val gangs ar­rive at Esigo­dini mag­is­trate’s court ac­com­pa­nied by po­lice of­fi­fi­cers and, top pic­ture, war­lords Mthulisi Ng­wenya (left) and Baron Dube lead their mem­bers to Esigo­dini pri­son in yes­ter­day

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