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Mystery surrounds diamond ore theft in Zimbabwe

By The Africa Report
Posted on Wednesday, 4 January 2012 12:40

Mystery surrounds the theft of 400 kilogrammes of diamond ore by armed robbers at Zimbabwe’s fortified Marange fields amid suspicions it was an internal job.

The ore belonged to Marange Resources, one of four companies mining diamonds in a partnership with the state owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

It is estimated to be worth millions of United State dollars.

The 10 men were allegedly armed with AK-47 rifles, usually used by the army.

They pounced on security guards who were guarding a broken down truck, overpowered them and fled off into the night.

The robbery which according to Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Gift Chimanikire is an “inside job” happened in the last week of December, 2011.

A special police unit is investigating the theft but no arrests have been made to date.

this was a planned thing

Officer Commanding Police in Manicaland (Operations) Assistant Commissioner David Mahoya said they were working flat out to track down the robbers.

“The fact that the robbers were so many, numbering up to 10, indicates that this was a planned thing,” he said.

Farai Maguwu, an activist who has been monitoring operations at the controversial diamond fields described the circumstances leading to the robbery as suspicious.

“The fact that there was an AK 47 used by the military clearly points to some connivance by those people charged with securing the area and it is no surprise,” he said.

“This is a very high security area.”

A visit by The Africa Report in December to the fields showed that security was water tight.

Mining operations for all firms were secured with electric and alarmed security fences, flood lights and close-circuit television to stop illegal miners and thieves from sneaking in.

Zimbabwe is poised to become the world’s third largest diamond producer by the end of this decade as production continues to soar.

The country which is currently the seventh largest producer in the world has potential to satisfying 25 percent of global demand.

Zimbabwe stands to earn more than $2 billion per year from the Marange mines.

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