Zimbabwe: Cops Unleashed to Bash Matobo Villagers for Evicting Illegal Miners

ANTI-RIOT police bashed community members in Domboshava Village, Matobo as punishment for ganging up to evict miners, civil society group, Heal Zimbabwe Trust has reported.

The details were revealed by the Human Rights Monitors (HRMs) working with HZT, during a training workshop earlier this week.

"The villagers are living in constant fear because these miners are so violent and bribe the police to avoid arrests.

"They have threatened that they will unleash a second wave of Gukurahundi if villagers continue to resist their mining activities," said HZT.

Gukurahundi refers to a military operation back in the early 1980s which saw the slaughter of an estimated 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands regions.

The civil society organisation noted that the local community once mobilised and evicted the miners albeit at a cost after police were unleashed to assault and arrest some of them.

"The violent mining activities have destroyed the social fabric and disrupted the prevalence of social cohesion," HZT said.

Nasty violence by gold miners in the Matabeleland South province reached its peak in 2019 prompting chiefs and legislators in the area to appeal for government intervention to end the skirmishes.

The gangs use all manner of weapons that include machetes, guns and knives in their fights for control of gold claims.

Matabeleland South is rich in gold with 5 772 registered mining claims.

This has made the province a magnet for artisanal miners from across the country.

A number of gold barons that control the claims have been accused of being the source of the chaos in the sector.

The training by HZT is part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities.

The organisation uses various strategies to address conflicts within local communities.

One of the strategies includes the use of community dialogue, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities.

The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights while facilitating local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.

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