ZIMBABWE – In a surprising twist of events, one of the artisanal miners said to be trapped at Peerless Mine, Pickstone in Chegutu is alive and well in his home area of Zvimba.
He is said to have left the claims area when police arrived last Saturday and was not aware that he had been reported missing. Beven Goredema who is alleged to have been trapped together with four other artisanal miners was found at his rural home in Zvimba.
Police said Goredema has since recorded a statement where he alleged that an “influential” person in Chegutu allegedly told him not to be seen anywhere near the area.
“Following Zimbabwe Republic Police investigations, police have established that Beven Goredema who is alleged to be among the list of trapped artisanal at Peerless Mine, Pickstone in Chegutu is alive and well. Police have since recorded an affidavit statement from him,” said police in a statement.
Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara said Goredema did not know the other four people he is said to have been trapped with when Blekeridge Mine filled mining pits.
“We received a report of missing persons reported to have been trapped after tunnels were covered. Investigations led police to find Beven Goredema who is assisting police with investigations,” he said.
Goredema is said to have been trapped inside a mine shaft together with one Tatenda Gwandira (23), Nicholas, Gidza and Mundebele.
No further particulars are known of the other three who are known only by their nicknames and first names.
Goredema professed ignorance on the other three saying that people from different parts of the country converge at artisanal mining sites.
Rescue efforts by engineers from Ministry of Mines and Mining Development have so far failed to locate the alleged trapped miners raising doubts of whether there are any people trapped or if they would be found alive.
There are fears that the development could have been a hoax.
Police are now investigating a possible case of a false report with interest in interviewing the alleged “influential” person.
“It is believed that Goredema was told by an influential person not to be seen near Pickstone area for reasons best known to himself.
“In view of this information provided by Goredema we are now conducting investigations to establish whether a crime was committed or not,” said the police.
Police are also keen to interview the relatives of the alleged missing persons and investigations will also extend to the Registrar General’s office to verify the identities of the missing persons.
Pickstone mine is at the centre of a wrangle between Pickstone Cooperative and Blekeridge Mine who contend have rights to the claims.
Last week Mines and Mining Development ministry permanant secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga said officials from his office were keen to interview Chegutu West legislator Cde Dexter Nduna over reports that he could have misled Government on the alleged miners.