Gang of 4 stabs pan­ner in fight for gold­fields

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Pa­trick Chi­tumba

A GOLD pan­ner from Lower Gweru died early yes­ter­day morn­ing af­ter he was stabbed al­legedly by four fel­low il­le­gal min­ers in a sus­pected turf war.

Vil­lagers from Pihli, Ward 7, un­der Chief Bun­ina told The Chron­i­cle that the area had be­come a “war zone” with fre­quent bloody clashes in­volv­ing armed gangs vy­ing for con­trol of gold claims.

They said they dis­cov­ered the blood­ied body of Godlove Mgezelwa Sibanda (24) in a ditch soon af­ter mid­night.

He had been stabbed on the chest and armpit.

Po­lice have ar­rested Marvelous Sibanda (20), one of the four peo­ple sus­pected to have at­tacked Godlove. The other three are on the run. Vil­lagers said the quar­tet had a run­ning ri­valry with Goodlove over gold­fields.

De­tec­tives re­cov­ered an okapi knife with blood stains in Marvelous’ pos­ses­sion. It is be­lieved to be the mur­der weapon. Act­ing Mid­lands provin­cial po­lice spokesper­son As­sis­tant In­spec­tor Ethel Muk­wende said in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the killing were un­der­way.

“We re­ceived a mur­der re­port which hap­pened in Lower Gweru in­volv­ing a male adult. One sus­pect has been ar­rested and in­ves­ti­ga­tions are in progress”.

The Chron­i­cle vis­ited the area at around 10AM and found vil­lagers gath­ered around Godlove’s body which was cov­ered with a blan­ket.

Godlove’s brother — Mlungisi — said he was awo­ken by a phone call around mid­night telling him his younger brother, a fa­ther of two, had been killed.

“That’s my brother ly­ing there. He has two stab wounds, one on the chest and the other un­der the armpit. There is blood all over. One sus­pect has been ar­rested and we know him. Three other sus­pects are on the run,” he said.

Mlungisi said Marvelous told the po­lice that they at­tacked Godlove around 11PM on Wed­nes­day as he was leav­ing Wood­pecker night club.

He said Godlove and Marvelous had been in­volved in pre­vi­ous fights.

Ward 7 coun­cil­lor Mr Ron­ald Sibanda said the com­mu­nity was tired of the ter­ri­to­rial gang wars.

“Th­ese groups are al­ways fight­ing. They go around car­ry­ing ma­chetes and knives. We’re now afraid to send our chil­dren to the shops or any­where un­ac­com­pa­nied,” he said.

Cde Rain Mathulisa, a com­mu­nity leader and a Cen­tral Com­mit­tee mem­ber of Zanu-PF, ac­cused the po­lice of turn­ing a blind eye to the crimes tak­ing place in the area.

“When you call the po­lice to clear your cat­tle they come quickly be­cause they know they will get money. But when we re­port cases of vi­o­lence per­pe­trated by the groups, they don’t come. We’re dis­ap­pointed with th­ese po­lice of­fi­cers,” he said.

A vil­lager, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said Godlove and Marvelous were bul­lies who had pre­vi­ous brushes with the law.

He said last week, Godlove had as­saulted a fel­low vil­lager, adding that the com­mu­nity was shocked to see him roam­ing the area barely an hour af­ter his ar­rest.

“You see, this area is close to Gweru River, it’s close to St Faith and Solomon ar­eas where gold pan­ning is ram­pant. So they carry their grudges from there and bring them home. Th­ese two be­long to ri­val groups which are al­ways fight­ing each other. They move around with ma­chetes and knives say­ing they are for self de­fence,” said the vil­lager.

Ac­cord­ing to court records, Godlove was once con­victed of as­sault which left his vic­tim with seven stitches on the head.

Godlove ap­peared be­fore Gweru mag­is­trate Mr Tayengwa Chibanda on May 24 fac­ing one count of as­sault and was sen­tenced to per­form 350 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice which he com­pleted.

On the other hand, Marvelous was in 2014 con­victed of rape by Re­gional mag­is­trate Mr Mor­gan Ne­madire.

He was handed a three-year sus­pended sen­tence be­cause he was said to have been un­der age. — @pchi­tumba1

Vil­lagers com­fort Mlungisi, brother to the late Godlove Lower Gweru vil­lagers at the place where Godlove’s body was found (top) and Mlungisi stand­ing over his brother’s body (right)

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