A popular gold baron in Esigodini in Matabeleland South has been arrested for allegedly killing a man suspected to belong to a rival mining gang in the area.
The gold dealer was arrested on Thursday after the shooting incident that happened on the same day at around 2 am.
Although Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele said he was yet to receive the report, Sunday News visited the area where officials confirmed the incident.
Umzingwane representative in the National Assembly Retired Brigadier-General Levi Mayihlome said one miner was arrested and was in police custody.
“Yes the police phoned me and told me that he has been arrested over the incident,” he said.
The gold dealer allegedly shot the man at Mr Tendai Musanangurwa’s mine.
Ward 16 Councillor Phathisani Sibanda said it was an unfortunate incident and the community was still in shock.
“This was an unfortunate incident and we are still trying to understand what might have made these youngsters to quarrel to such a point where one ends up losing his life. We do not have the name of the suspect yet but the boy was from a neighbouring village and had been staying with his relatives.”
The name of the deceased could not be availed as the police were still investigating the case.
MrMusanangurwa confirmed the shooting at his mine although he said he was not around when the incident happened.
“I was at an all-night prayer when the unfortunate incident happened but I received reports of rival gold panning gangs who got involved in a shootout which claimed the life of one local. What happens with these guys is that when they come to your mine they do not negotiate with you, they just start mining and thereafter they go to local bars for a binge where they discuss where they would have gotten the gold. The members of rival gangs then mobilize themselves to go and chase the other group. I am reliably informed that those who were chased had made close to three kilogrammes of gold and that’s where the problem started.
“The current situation is that we have one dead person. The incident occurred in the early hours of today and we are not sure whether the intention was to kill the deceased or just to scare the group as it was very dark. I understand the police here have tried their best to resolve issues around these gold wars however, the problem is lack of resources such as cars which would make it easier for them to get to the crime scenes a bit sooner.”
Mr Jimmy Muzamba who works for MrMusanangurwa said the alleged killer came to the mine at around 11pm on Wednesday following reports some panners had stumbled upon rich deposits of gold.
“He came to the mine with his group and he dispersed the panners but they came back. When he heard that they were back he brought a loaded fire arm and fired at the fleeing group. We heard gunshots at around 2am and we rushed to see what was happening. The deceased was shot on the chest and he died on the spot,” said the MrMuzamba.