Ex-cop recovering after mining claim shooting
AN ex-police officer from Zvishavane is recovering at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) after he was shot in a bitter dispute over a mining claim in the mining town.
A bullet ripped through Mr Tawanda Chimiti’s right hand, fracturing his arm, before ricocheting off a machete that he had in a back pocket and going through his buttocks. He said three members from a rival group opened fire on him on Friday last week after accusing him and his colleagues of trespassing. Mr Chimiti also sustained a deep cut on the forehead during the scuffle. The unidentified group is allegedly from Kwekwe and the mining claim is situated in the Machimbirike area under Chief Mazvihwa. When Chronicle visited him at the hospital yesterday, Mr Chimiti (36) said he was in severe pain but lucky to be alive.
“I have been going to the mining claim to work in search for gold with other gold panners from Zvishavane. I don’t know who the mining claim belongs to because different people have come claiming ownership.
“We have worked with a number of local businessmen, sharing proceeds whenever we get some gold. On Friday, at about 1PM, a group of men came to the mine, accused us of trespassing and ordered us to leave,” said Mr Chimiti.
He said the unidentified men claimed to be from Kwekwe and had brought fencing material that they wanted to enclose the mining claim. “They told us that they were the owners of the claim since 2012 and wanted everybody to leave immediately. We told them we had been working at the mine for a long time.
“Three of them produced guns and started shooting. We all ran away but one of the bullets hit me and I fell to the ground. I was saved by a machete that I had shoved in my back pocket. The bullet deflected on the machete. It broke my right hand and ripped my buttocks,” said Mr Chimiti.
He said his colleagues tried throwing stones at the rival group from a distance in a bid to rescue him but they continued shooting.
Mr Chimiti said he spent more than five hours lying on the ground and bleeding until the local councillor, only identified as Clr Singwango, came to the scene and talked to them. Clr Singwango told them that if the mining claim is theirs, they should not use violence, but the formal procedure to evict people from the mine, adding that the “local traditional and political leaders were not informed that the mining claim had owners,” said Mr Chimiti.
He added that the people later took him to White Hospital in Zvishavane for treatment where he was transferred to the UBH. — @pamelashumba1