THREE Honda Fit vehicles as well as a number of tuck-shops were set on fire in a fight between two rival groups of miners at Wanderer gold mine in Shurugwi. The incident happened on Friday when the two groups fought running battles over the control of mining areas.
Wanderer Gold Mine is one of the oldest mines in Shurugwi. There are several tuck-shops dotted around the mine which sell groceries, beverages and even clothing to gold miners operating in the area. No arrests have been made amid indications that the warring parties have gone into hiding.
Shurugwi District Development Coordinator (DDC) Mr Romeo Shangwa who visited the site confirmed the development.
“Yes, three Honda Fit vehicles and 17 tuck-shops were burnt following misunderstandings between rival groups of gold miners,” he said.
Mr Shangwa said the groups were fighting over control of mining areas around the old mine.
“We have been told that the misunderstanding is over control of mining areas. Three vehicles and several tuck-shops were torched during the skirmishes,” he said.
Mr Shangwa said the district leadership is looking into the matter with the hope of bringing the warring parties to the table.
“No arrests have been made as far as I know. We were told when we visited the site that the culprits had gone into hiding and we want to bring them together so that we avoid such occurrences. Even if one or two people are arrested, the fights will continue hence we want to find a permanent solution,” he said.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko referred Chronicle to national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi who was not available for comment. Wanderer mine is owned by a local company which has since abandoned the area because of activities of illegal miners.
Sources say it is now a free for all, a development that has led to rival groups fighting to control the mining areas. In 2018, Government suspended mining operations at the gold mine as a safety measure after part of the mineshaft collapsed trapping several illegal gold miners.