ONE person was shot dead while two others were seriously injured in Kadoma on Saturday in a long-running gold mine ownership wrangle between banker Mr Patterson Timba and businessman Mr Jameson Rushwaya.
Several other people sustained bruises all over their bodies during the brawl, which pitted those sympathetic to Mr Timba against Mr Rushwaya's supporters.
Police have since arrested seven people over the violence that occurred at Glencairn Mine.
The suspects were yesterday still in custody and will appear in court soon facing murder and attempted murder charges. Mr Timba and Mr Rushwaya and his wife Annie are reportedly shareholders in Aepromm Resources (Pvt) Ltd company, which has mining claims worth more than US$300 million.
The mine has been at the centre of an ownership row between Mr Rushwaya and Mr Timba. Police sources said on Saturday at around 2pm, a convoy of cars arrived at the mine with a blue lorry carrying security guards. The guards descended on the mine compound and attempted to pass by the mine's security boom gate.
Security guards at the boom gate asked for gate passes which the visitors failed to produce.
While they were arguing, one of the security guards who disembarked from the lorry and identified as Lazarus Sidondo opened fire and shot in the direction of mine workers who had gathered to witness what was going on.
Twenty-year-old Shepherd Mpofu, who was an internal security guard at the mine, died after he was hit with three bullets.
Three other people were shot on the hands and thighs. Sidondo was reportedly apprehended by mine workers before the injured were ferried to Kadoma Hospital.
Mr Rushwaya and his wife were recently issued with a Writ of Eviction by the High Court, but had been refusing to vacate the mine. "They were ordered to stop all their activities at the mine and to pave way for Mr Timba, but they refused," a police source said.
It is alleged that they then appealed to the Supreme Court, but lost the appeal.
The police source alleged that the people and guards employed by Mr Rushwaya were the ones who first attacked some of Mr Timba's workers. This resulted in a fight, with stones and other weapons being hauled at each other. "Investigations have also revealed that most of them were armed and it is believed that there were several .303 rifles and small firearms," said the police source.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri confirmed the incident.
"We confirm a report we received yesterday (Saturday) about three men who were shot in a brawl involving ownership wrangle of Glencairn mine," he said. "One man died upon being admitted at the hospital and the other two are still recuperating.
"We arrested 7 people and impounded three cars which were used to ferry suspects to the mine. People are advised to take the proper channel when dealing with such matters instead of taking the law into their own hands."
In February last year, Mr Rushwaya and his wife Annie had their urgent High Court chamber application in which they were seeking a provisional order against Mr Timba and other shareholders dismissed.
The couple was seeking an order for Mr Timba, other shareholders and agents not to interfere in any manner with Glencairn Mine in Kadoma, which they jointly own.