Ex-cop re­cov­er­ing af­ter min­ing claim shoot­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Reporter

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

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