The death of a gold panner following a January 7 shooting in Kadoma has exposed the participation of soldiers in gold wars that have led to dozens of deaths around the country.
Kudakwashe Hoko was shot and killed by private security guards at Goodhope which is part of Brompton Mine in Kadoma, where gold gangs recently disarmed and brutally killed a police officer.
Police now say their investigation has revealed that Hoko was a corporal in the Zimbabwe National Army based at the military headquarters in Harare.
Hoko, according to police, was part of a six-man gang that drove to Goodhope on January 7, arriving just after 9PM.
“The accused disembarked from their vehicle and forcibly entered the fenced gold rush site. They were challenged to stop by the security guards but they continued advancing being led by Hoko who was armed with an axe,” an internal police memo seen by ZimLive says.
Police say security guards from a company called Excop fired warning shots in the air but the gang kept advancing, leading to one of the guards shooting Hoko in the chest at close range.
When the guards searched the group’s vehicle after apprehending Hoko’s colleagues, they discovered two pairs of Zimbabwe National Army camouflage uniform, a small axe, a Colombian knife and four explosives.
Police have now uncovered that three of the six men were members of the ZNA. The other two who were arrested have been charged with criminal trespass.
Army commanders have recently voiced concern about rampant indiscipline in the ranks, with poorly paid soldiers going AWOL. Many have been arrested at scenes of armed robberies or in the gold mines where they are accused of fuelling the violence.