FOUR members of the notorious machete-wielding illegal gold panners who allegedly forced themselves into Redwing Mine in Penhalonga after attacking security guards with machetes and axes, damaging property worth thousands of dollars in the melee, have been arrested and hauled before the courts.
The quartet had demanded access to mine for gold.
Zondai Urayayi (24), Theophelus Gapara (28), Godfrey Dzingirayi (42) and Darlington Mutsingo (26), however, denied the charges when they appeared before Mutare magistrate Miss Prisca Tendai Manhibi on Mon- day.
They were being charged with contravening Section 113 (1) (a)of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).
Mr God’swish Dzivakwe prosecuted.
The court heard that the suspects who were in the company of accomplices, who are still at large, pounced on the mine last Friday at around 10am.
The went to the security guards’ cabin armed with machetes and axes demanding access to mine for gold.
“After being refused access, the gang then attacked the security guards, which led the latter to run for dear life.
The suspects then destroyed the cabins.
The three security guards — Trybet Madzikatire, Denford Katyora and Walter Mhosva — fired warning shots into the air which dispersed the accused persons,” said Mr Dzivakwe.
During the commotion, the suspects also stole a shovel, a pick and a 15-metre-long rope.
A report was made and investigations were carried out by the police leading to the arrest of the quartet.
The stolen property was recovered at one of the suspect’s homesteads.
Machete gangs have wreaked havoc at gold mining sites across the country, causing deaths and injuries and threatening the entire gold mining industry.
They have been committing other violent crimes in towns, cities and rural business centres.
— Manica Post