Abel Zhakata Senior Reporter
EIGHT illegal diamond panners, among them two soldiers, reportedly fatally assaulted their colleague for allegedly swallowing the syndicate’s diamonds.
The two soldiers are stationed in Chipinge.
The suspects — Gift Gamunorwa (25), Samson Sazwe (29), Kudzanai Lazarus (30), Howard Tongai (32), Gift Mutowo (25), RegaiMukumbiri (25), Melusi Maseko (40) and Langton Ndlovu (27) — were on Monday hauled before Mutare provincial magistrate, Miss Nyasha Kuture.
They were remanded in custody and advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
The accused persons are being charged with murder as defined in Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.
It is alleged that Evans Makowa (31), who hails from Mwapamba Village under Chief Marange, was murdered on December 6 in Chiadzwa, Marange. The late Makowa and the eight accused persons were illegal diamond panners operating in Chiadzwa.
On the fateful day at around 2.30pm, the now deceased was in the company of the accused persons panning for diamonds in Chishingwi when they picked up some pieces of diamonds.
However, the accused persons accused Makowa of swallowing some of the diamonds, resulting in a dispute.
They started assaulting Makowa with logs all over the body, demanding that he produces the hidden diamonds.
The suspects then bundled Makowa into the boot of a car and drove to a Tserukai Rombe’s homestead, where they continued assaulting him.
They put Makowa in the boot again and drove away to an unknown destination.
At this point, other illegal diamond panners alerted Makowa’s father, Stephen Makowa, about the assault.
Later that day, two of the suspects – Gamunorwa and Sazwe – dumped Makowa’s body in a bushy area in Muedzengwa Village.
Two days later, Godfrey Doriro, Pirimidzai Nechipote and Nyasha Nechipote were hunting when they bumped into the body.
Headman Samson Musaamba was advised of the development and a report was made at ZRP Marange.
Homicide detectives attended the scene and their investigations revealed that Makowa did not die at the spot. His body was only ferried and dumpedthere.
The body was conveyed to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital for post mortem.
On December 11, Gamunorwa was arrested by members of the public after he was identified as one of the suspects.
During interrogation, he implicated all members of the syndicate, thereby leading to their arrest.