Family savagely attacked by armed gold panners

A gold rush caused by the discovery of gold deposits at Happy Valley Farm in Hope Fountain on the outskirts of Bulawayo has caused grief for a family after they were driven out of their home by an armed gang.

Josephine Ncube, an elderly woman and her grandsons were attacked by a machete-wielding gang while asleep in the early hours of November 27.

This is after one of Ncube’s grandsons had stumbled on gold deposits while digging in the yard.

Oblivious that they were putting their lives at risk, the family reported the discovery to local authorities.

Narrating her ordeal to CITE, Wednesday, Ncube, said they were later approached by a man who offered to pay them if they allowed him to mine the gold ore.

“After my grandson had reported to the authorities, we were approached by a man who introduced himself as Dube from Bulawayo. He was with his companion called Freedom Siziba,” she said.

“Dube then said he will be the one doing the extraction and in return, we will receive some money. He has been mining there for a month now and we haven’t received anything. Twice he has been taking ore to town.”

On the night of the attack, Ncube said she was woken up by loud noises in her yard.

“They started tearing down some structures at my home. They destroyed my children’s furniture. They kept demanding money which I didn’t have. One of them came to me wielding a spear and poked me on the side. They ordered me to sit down and ransacked everything in the house,” she narrated.

After the attack, Ncube said Dube promised to put a fence around the homestead and a security guard to protect it from invaders.

Fearing for her life, Ncube sought refuge at her daughter’s homestead.

Ncube’s daughter, Thokozile Lunga said Dube approached her requesting for her Identity document, her mother’s and her son’s but she only gave him hers.

“Some police officers warned us not to give them our IDs as they would use them as proof of agreement that we gave them permission to mine. We never had a formal agreement with them, now they are harassing my mother. She is of ill health and such treatment is not fair to her,” Ncube said.

“Since they started mining they haven’t remitted anything to her. She doesn’t deserve such treatment because she is not gaining anything from all these mining activities.”

Lunga said they have, on numerous occasions, requested the intervention of the police but nothing has materialised.

“We have reported time and again to the police but there are no results. We just want the people to take their minerals and go. They must leave us in peace.”

Bulawayo police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said they were still investigating the matter.

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