Police in Matabeleland South province have launched a manhunt for four men who allegedly killed three artisanal miners over a well-endowed woman in Lumene, Gwanda District, and are on the run.
The accused persons, who were only identified as Khumalo, Mdawini, Rasta and Godlwayo also work as artisanal miners around the Lumene area.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena said Ephat Sibanda (31) and Brian Moyo (30), together with one man only identified as Shorty were attacked on December 15 after they kidnapped a man only identified as Prince whom they found in the company of his girlfriend.
One of the deceased claimed to also have an affair with the lady in question identified as Ms Faith Moyo and a fight ensued as a result.
They took Prince to their tent where they detained him, questioning him over why he was drinking with one of their girlfriends.
It is alleged that one of Prince’s friends organised a rescue mission, which resulted in the three deceased persons being assaulted heavily with knobkerries, axes and iron bars and left for dead.
Police were called to the scene, however, the attackers had already fled when they arrived.
Inspector Mangena said police were appealing for information that may lead to the arrest of four men on the run who allegedly killed three artisanal miners in Lumene.
Inspector Mangena said investigations were still underway and a manhunt had since been launched for the killers.
“We are still investigating the case where three men were killed in a fight over a girlfriend in Lumene, Matabeleland South. We hereby appeal to members of the public to assist by coming forward with any information that may lead to the arrest of the accused persons.
We also urge members of the public to desist from carrying dangerous weapons. We appeal to the public to always use non-violent means to resolve conflicts,” she said.
Meanwhile, police have arrested 62 739 people for illegal mining activities across the country since January this year under an operation targeting illegal miners and people carrying dangerous weapons.
In January, police launched Isitsheketsha Kasiphele/Chikorokoza Ngachipere/No To Machete Gangs which saw 130 miners being arrested under the operation during the first week of December.
Earlier this year, gold panners reportedly unleashed a reign of terror in Malungwane Village in Umzingwane District, Matabeleland South Province, attacking villagers with axes, machetes and knobkerries.
The development saw community members sleeping in maize fields fearing being attacked at their homes while asleep.
Police have also banned the carrying of dangerous weapons such as catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, swords, knives, spears and daggers.
The prohibition order started in October and ends on January 19. If found with weapons offenders could face up to six months in prison.