Gold Panners Go Berserk, Axe Eight & Kill One Over US$2 In Bulawayo
In a shocking case of violence, one person died while seven others sustained serious injuries after a gang of suspected gold panners indiscriminately axed 8 people in Bulawayo. The five suspected gold panners carried out the gruesome attack on residents of Bulawayo’s Emabuthweni suburb on Thursday evening following a dispute over US$2.
According to the police, the issue started when Shepard Nhliziyo sold two mobile phones, a Samsung Trend and a KGTEL, to a firewood vendor on Wednesday. Nhliziyo and the 29-year-old woman agreed on US$14 for both phones. The vendor then gave him US$11 and promised to pay the balance of US$3 the next day.
Outlining what transpired, Acting Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said,
“Nhliziyo was paid US$11 and the balance of US$3 was supposed to be collected yesterday. However, on Thursday at around 5 PM Nhliziyo returned and found the husband of the female vendor at the shops to collect his balance of US$3 and was paid US$1 and he left.”
However, a few hours later, Nhliziyo returned in the company of four other men and started demanding their phones back. Things quickly escalated after the vendor’s husband informed them that his wife who was not around, had the phones on her.
“The husband told them that the cell phones in question were with his wife who was not around. It is alleged that Nhliziyo then picked an axe which the husband used to chop firewood and threatened to axe him and at the same time Nyathi removed a small axe from his trousers and went on to slap the husband once in the face. He took to his heels with the gang in hot pursuit closely,”
Frustrated at their failure to catch their quarry, the Nhliziyo and his gang are alleged to have gone berserk, indiscriminately attacking and axing anyone they came across.
One of the victims was a woman, returning home from a church service. The oldest victim was 60 years old and the youngest was 20 years old.
Assistant Msebele added,
“The second victim was axed on the right side of the head and sustained a moderate cut. The third victim was axed in the centre of the head and right side of the head and he sustained two cuts.
“Complainant number four was struck on the forehead and she sustained a cut. The fifth person was axed on the right side of the head. The sixth person was axed on the left side of the head and sustained two cuts.
“Number seven was cut on the head and on the upper lip and he sustained two cuts while number eight was struck on the head and he sustained two cuts.”
The victims of the senseless attack were rushed to the United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital, where one of them, unfortunately, died one Friday.
Nhliziyo has since been arrested. However, his accomplices are still at large.
The local councillor for the area, Frank Jabangwe, deplored the police’s slow response to the attack. Speaking to the Chronicle, Jabangwe said,
“I think the challenge that we had was that the police were slow to react when the people who had been attacked reported the matter. They said there were no police officers at the nearby station and those at Pata Pata Bar told them that they weren’t deployed to Mabutweni. At the time the assailants were axing the people. Police could have apprehended them.”
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