Robbers pounced on Togotsweu Mine in Mangwe district, Matabeleland South, on Monday night and attacked villagers before driving away with seven tonnes of gold ore, CITE has established.
The community-owned mine, which has been at the centre of dispute since August last year, is under constant attack from thieves who steal gold ore.
The alleged robbers, after being pursued by the villagers also using a vehicle, reportedly gave up their flee attempt and parked their loaded truck outside Maphisa Police Station where they were subsequently handed themselves over to the police.
One of the villagers, Raphael Ncube, told CITE the other robbers fled but six were apprehended.
Ncube said the mine was being manned by six community security guards when the robbers arrived.
He said out of the approximately 20 robbers, the villagers managed to apprehend six, including the truck owner, only identified as Funani and his driver Honest.
“The robbers came to the mine in an 8 tonne truck,” said Ncube.
“They were armed with knobkerries, iron bars and axes. When they were about 700 meters from the mine they switched off their truck lights and proceeded until they parked their truck inside the mine premises.”
He added: “They disembarked, heavily armed, and started pelting stones at the men manning the mine. They were shouting obscenities and ordered them to leave the mine. The security guards, being outnumbered and fearing for their lives, fled the scene and called the rest of the villagers.”Raphael Ncube.
Ncube said the robbers then loaded about 7 tonnes of gold ore into their truck and drove off.
He said the villagers secured a truck from one of the villagers and took chase of the loaded truck.
“We mobilised at least 20 villagers and rode in the truck in pursuit of the robbers,” explained Ncube.
“They drove to Maphisa and went into some compound but drove out again. When they realised we were not backing-off, they proceeded to Maphisa Police Station. Some of them managed to flee but we got hold of six, including the truck owner and the driver.”
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Chief Inspector Ndebele said he could not confirm the incident as the report had not reached his office.