Machete-wielding illegal gold panders infamously known as “Mashurugwi” are wreaking havoc in artisanal mining compounds, terrorising settlers and farmers in parts of Mazowe and Guruve.
Force is what they are known for, thwarting any resistance through machetes and other terror weapons, be it over mine claims, women or even booze in the small scale mining areas such as Zuvarabuda in Mazowe and Kamushenjere Mine in Guruve.
“Mashurugwi” is a title derived from Shurugwi the mining town where the menacing thugs reportedly began their activities; the group knows no bounds and are not afraid to unleash bloodbath in areas they set foot on.
Small scale miners are living in fear and some have since halted operations while their homes are no longer a safe hiding place.
“We are now living under the cloud of fear, if someone is beaten up reports go to police but you will soon see the guys roaming again,” said one small scale miner.
“If you open a shaft and come to discover gold samples, the machete wielding guys forcibly take over,” another small scale miner said.
“A number of women have been raped while some of the thugs are on the guard and if one dares to complain then you will be risking the lives of your family members,” said another small scale miner.
Following a ZBC story in which artisanal were fingered for damaging the rail road at Tatagura, some artisanal miners blamed the menacing Mashurugwi for the destruction saying they are the only people brazen enough to dig under the railway.
“We have lived in this area for a long time and even the police can testify that infrastructural damage began after the emergence of the ruthless Mashurugwi,” said one artisanal miner.
The Headman of the area said: “I once tried to stop them as the headman but I was beaten up.”
“If you ask around you will realise that most of the guys who do the damage are not from this area. Yesterday, we had a meeting about this and our wish is to have an association that stands for our plight as small scale miners,” another artisanal miner chipped in.
Small scale miners have called upon authorities to find ways of vetting miners and ensuring they have traceable identity documents so that residents of the area are protected.