Police are hunting down a gang of at least 20 they suspect attacked and killed a mine manager on Wednesday night in the Saruwe area, in Mashonaland West, before the entire night shift of the mine vanished with 20 tonnes of gold ore and a quantity of explosives.
The deceased was identified as Robert James Chilpott aged 68.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the manhunt for the 20 suspects thought to be part of the gang that killed the gold miner.
“Police have launched a manhunt for at least 20 suspects who we are keen to question over the incident as investigations on the case continue,” he said.
There is suspicion by police that the employees could have been in the habit of stealing gold or gold concentrates after processing the gold ore during the night.
Mr Chilpott was attacked at Sanary Mine at around 11pm while he was managing the mine on behalf of the owner who is based in South Africa.
He found workers at night processing gold and it is suspected that he questioned them and an argument arose, resulting in him being attacked and dying on the spot. This is not the first time that mine employees have been found on the wrong side of the law in Saruwe.
In October 2019, ZRP Saruwe recovered 30 tonnes of chrome ore that had been stolen at a mine in Selous through connivance by employees at the mine.
The truck driver was reported to have taken off with the chrome before the quantity could be verified and through the assistance of other employees, he managed to leave the company premises.
A report was then made to the police and the truck was intercepted at a roadblock.
The stolen chrome was valued at US$30 000. Gold panners have also been embroiled in clashes over gold, which have left some seriously injured and others dead.
In April this year, a man was killed by an artisanal miner at a gold mill in Amatola, within the Jumbo Mine area during a scuffle over gold proceeds.
Allegations were that the deceased, Richard Makoto had sponsored a group of artisanal miners to mine the gold and in return, would share with them the proceeds after selling the ore.
Reports say a heated argument arose between Makoto and the artisanal miners before one of them hit him on the head with a shovel, killing him instantly.