One of them asked why I was moving in the opposite direction with the illegal miners. I told them I was not part of the miners and I had no reason to run away so at that moment one of the security officers pulled the trigger, targeting my leg.
ZIMBABWE Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) security details recently shot and critically injured Tryagain Mpofu, a Chiadzwa resident, amid a fresh diamond rush rocking Manicaland.
By Elias Mambo
The shooting incident comes when bodies of three illegal miners were recovered in the Marange diamond field last month.
This news article is part of the ongoing investigation into the Marange alluvial diamonds discovery and subsequent plunder at various stages by state and non-state actors. The special series is supported by the Investigative Journalism Fund.
Last week, Mpofu was shot on the thigh at close range following an altercation with ZCDC security.
In an interview on Wednesday on his Parirenyatwa Hospital bed, Mpofu said he was still in a state of shock following the incident.
“I still cannot believe that I was shot at close range when I had not done anything wrong,” Mpofu said while writhing in agony on his bed. “I was walking close to the ZCDC security fence when I came across hundreds of illegal miners running in the opposite direction. I could not join them as I was on my journey home and there was no reason to run away because I was not part of the panners.
“I saw three security guys running to me and I stopped walking because they were very close to me, about three metres away. One of them asked why I was moving in the opposite direction with the illegal miners.
“I told them I was not part of the miners and I had no reason to run away so at that moment one of the security officers pulled the trigger, targeting my leg.”
Mpofu said he was taken to Mutare General Hospital on Friday morning and then transferred to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare on Friday afternoon because his condition was deteriorating.
“I came on Friday afternoon, but until today I am just being given painkillers because I had no money to buy blood,” Mpofu said. “They took away my pass which we normally carry around and shows that our home is within Marange.”
As widely reported by the Zimbabwe Independent, the local Chiadzwa villagers have endured massive human rights abuses by state security since diamonds were discovered in Marange.
In 2008, unbeknown to the illegal panners, anti-riot police details from the Police Support Unit arrived in large numbers and sealed the mountains in an operation meant to clear thousands of illegal miners from Marange.
As the order to start the operation came — a precursor to Operation Hakudzokwi (No Return) — under which grisly human rights abuses and killings were to be committed by security forces, the officers ruthlessly and systematically opened fire as miners clambered the mountains.
Diamond mining in Chiadzwa is now synonymous with murder, torture and rape. At the height of the diamond rush between 2006 and 2008, the security forces perpetrated untold horrors, stealing the illegal miners’ belongings and leaving a trail of violence.
One notable case was that of Mutare businessman Maxwell Mandebvu-Mabota, whose vehicle was seized along with other valuables and US$11 000 in cash; he would die after being savagely beaten up by soldiers.