4 Killed At Marange Diamond Fields As Complaints About Forced Labour Rise
The Marange community last night was outraged at the Zimbabwe government which has denied that there is ongoing forced labour which “has continued” at the diamond fields.
The government spokesman, Nick Mangwana rushed to pull a side comment from a US embassy employee hoping to discredit a library of video footage at the fields running for several years since 2008, showing brutalities that have continued even into the last 3 months.
Mangwana has denied that there are complaints from the Marange community in recent years and in a discussion with ZimEye yesterday, he said these abuses ended during the Robert Mugabe days.
The Zim government is fighting to get Marange stones reinstated as clean diamonds by US authorities following a ban earlier this week.
A top aide of Chief Marange’s who is also the Marange Diamond Community Trust leader, Moses Mukwada, saying the government spokesman is not being truthful, however narrated the opposite saying that forced labour as well as torture by soldiers, are on the rise in the last 3 months at the Marange Diamond Fields.
He also confirmed ZimEye video footage from a November 2018 visit which shows a man brutally bitten by guard dogs at the fields.
Speaking to ZimEye via phone Thursday evening, Moses Mukwada said
in comparison to the November 2018 days, the latest alleged military brutalities “have worsened and in the last 3 months alone, there have been several shootings.”
In deeply disturbing graphic detail, Mr Mukwada described one of the attacks saying an officer would consciously load 3 bullets one after the other into a victim’ body.
He also spoke concerning a group of local miners known as Mangwejas he said are being coerced into forced labour by the military and then poorly remuerated.
“Things haven’t changed, they have actually worsened,’ said Mukwadi.
He continued saying,
” at one time it was just the dogs being used on people, this time this year we have a lot of people numbering up to 10 who have been shot with guns by security guards. We with our own eyes witnessed about 4 of them who were shot and killed.
“Direct shooting to the extent that the gun will be firing 3 rounds of bullets, one after the other into one person.
Simba, video footage is just enough. Modern slavery, forced labour, economic and sexual exploitation are serious crimes against humanity. An independent investigation with experts around modern day slavery could be what we need. The accused cannot discharge such heinous crimes.
— Dr Muzvare Betty Makoni (@MuzvareBetty) October 4, 2019
“There is another one who came out on studio 7 who had a lot of bullets in his body,” he added.
He also described the issue of forced labour saying that soldiers usually target a group of young men from the local area who bear the title magwejas. He said this group after being found digging for diamonds are captuured by soldiers and forced into working for the military officers and the paid in kind.
He said, ” when we look at the case of the magwejas, these magwejas go on their own into the fields to pick up what they can. At that point they are captured by the soldiers and then they take them away.
” I witnessed one such incident 2 months ago, the people were being dropped into a bowser of water (sic) [likely for cleaning the stones]. And then when the diamond is sold off, they are paid only an appreciation; everything else they (soldiers) take.
“We could never say that things have improved. Things have actually gone worse,” he said. [timeline 3:50 to 4:30].
Mukwada also said some of the forced labour involves local residents who originate from other parts of the country but are now part of community as a result of of consequences such as marriage. He alleged that even married women if found to have identity cards that show that they were not born in the local area, they are immediately seized by the soldiers and taken away for forced labour to do worn such as closing up open cast mines left open by yhe magwejas.
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