Mutare — Four armed robbers who had reportedly turned the Marange diamond fields into a free for all since 2017, have been arrested.
The four, on several occasions with help from armed soldiers, police and hordes of illegal panners, looted diamonds worth millions of dollars after raiding the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in Chiadzwa.
Foster Mukwada (44) of Marange, Amato Fanuel Zivanai (34) from Shurungwi, Munyaradzi Charakupa (43) from Kadoma and Brian Marungamise (33) of Mutare appeared in court on Saturday, before Mutare Magistrate Nyasha Kuture who remanded them in custody to April 17 , 2019.
They are facing 10 counts of armed robbery. The accused persons who are represented by prominent Mutare Lawyer Farai Matinhure of Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners are denying the charges.
It is the State's case that on November, 29, 2017 , at around 0300 hours the accused persons entered the ZCDC concession with six suspected soldiers all in army uniform and armed with AK 47 rifles.
They were also accompanied by 30 illegal panners.
The accused persons in the company of soldiers ordered the ZCDC security personnel to lie down and they complied. It is alleged that the accused persons removed shoe laces from the complainant's (ZCDC security) and used them to tie their hands.
The group then entered the diamond fields and loaded ore into sacks. A report was made at a local police station. Using the same modus operandi Mukwada and Zivanai at around 2345 hours on March 24, 2019, according to prosecutor Brighton Shamuyarira raided portal 3 guarded by Misheck Mucheche.
The two accused persons were accompany by at least 100 illegal panners, four suspected soldiers and police all armed with AK 47 rifles. Zivanai and Mukwada reportedly grabbed the complainant and tied his hands from behind.
They entered into the diamonds fields and loaded their sacks with diamond ore and went away.
In some of the counts Shamuyarira told the court that on February 17, 2019 at around 0100 hours a security guard at ZCDC ( Lyton Mufundisi) was carrying out his duties, when he was approached by the accused persons who were again accompanied by suspected soldiers, eight illegal panners and ordered him to accompany them into the diamond fields. When they arrived the accused are said to have loaded the diamond ore into their sacks and left him.
A report was made at Marange Police Station. However all hell broke loose on April 4, 2019, when accused one (Mukwada) and four (Marungamise) connived and hatched a plan to rob ZCDC of diamond ore.
The duo then proceeded to ZCDC mining concession with their motor vehicles. They went with their vehicles intending to mobilise a team of illegal diamond panners to rob ZCDC mining concession.
Police who were on patrol received a tip off from a reliable source and swiftly reacted leading to their arrest.
They reportedly had money which was meant to mobilise the illegal panners. The pair also reportedly sold out the other accused persons as they were in the custody of police.