Senior magistrate arrested for public violence in gold war

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A senior magistrate and three other villagers have been arrested for public violence after they were involved in skirmishes at a village in Gokwe North over the control of a gold claim.

Collen Chiruma (42) and three alleged accomplices Reward Muriya (34), Murazvo Murindi (24) and Daniel Mutasa (26) appeared before Midlands Provincial Magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa yesterday each facing a count of public violence.

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They pleaded not guilty and were remanded out of custody on $100 bail each to October 5.

Mrs Msipa ordered them not to visit the mine in dispute, Gazemba 257, in Gokwe North until the matter is finalised.

They were also ordered not to interfere with police investigations and state witnesses.

The ownership of the mine is in dispute with Brian James Zijena and the magistrate allegedly both claiming ownership.

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Prosecutor, Miss Gracious Rongayi said on Tuesday at around 2PM, Chiruma and his accomplices arrived at Gazemba 257 mine, in Gokwe North driving a Toyota Land Cruiser with a group of people following behind their vehicle.

The magistrate as well as Muriya, Murindi and Mutasa, the court heard, disembarked from their vehicle before Mutasa proceeded to the mine shaft.

He allegedly seized a jack hammer and other mining tools which were being used for mining operations by Gazemba mine workers.

“During that time, Muriya and Murindi started attacking the mine workers by throwing stones at them injuring one mine worker in the process,” said Miss Rongayi.

The prosecutor said Chiruma started taking photographs of the commotion at the mine.

She said the commotion lasted for about 15 minutes before Brian James Zijena fired two warning shots in the air to put an end to the commotion.

The magistrate and his alleged accomplices were apprehended by members of the public.

“The quartet was then handed over to the police,” said Miss Rongayi.

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