Soldiers detained after Chiadzwa diamond heist


A security guard at the entrance to Marange diamond fields

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
29 January 2014

Two members of Zimbabwe’s army are facing criminal charges after being caught during a heist at a Chiadzwa based diamond mining firm.

At least 12 members of a gang, which included the two soldiers, were reportedly involved in the heist earlier this month, which saw 10kg of diamond ore being stolen from the Anjin diamond firm.

The gang, dressed in army uniforms and armed with AK47 rifles, stormed a processing plant at Anjin on January 18th, and used bolt cutters to cut the security fence while threatening to shoot the security guard on duty.

They later broke into a cage where the diamond ore was stored and loaded an estimated 10kg of the unprocessed ore into bags.

The Mutare magistrates’ court heard on Monday that other security guards intercepted the gang who fired warning shots into the air before making off with the stolen ore.

Five people were eventually tracked down by police, but only four were arrested after one of the suspected gang members fatally shot himself when he was facing arrest.

The four arrested are Harare-based soldiers Lieutenant Victor Zindonda and Brighton Mazo, and two civilians from Mutare, Tazeni Machingura and Tinashe Mwashita. They have been remanded in custody until February 5th.

Seven more people, who escaped with the stolen diamond ore, are still at large.

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