Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
TWO gold panners died while two others are battling for life at Kwekwe District Hospital after more than a dozen machete-wielding men attacked them at a shebeen at Mbizo 15 suburb in Kwekwe.
The blood curdling incident occurred on Thursday at around 9 PM.
Sources told The Chronicle that unknown assailants randomly slashed five men with machetes over unknown reasons.
Almighty Tshuma, a gold panner, died on the spot while another artisanal miner only identified as Tafadzwa, died on admission to Kwekwe District Hospital following the brutal attack.
Mr Silas Chibharo and Mr Norest Moyo are said to be in critical condition at the same hospital.
Mr Lloyd Chipinda, who owns the joint, was stabbed with a Colombia knife on the lower abdomen during the vicious attack.
He was treated and discharged.
When The Chronicle arrived at the scene, police were recording statements from witnesses.
Blood stained the walls and floor of the shebeen and it looked like an abattoir.
Tshuma’s body lay in a twisted heap in the corridor with numerous deep gashes.
The ground outside looked like a scene from an epic battle with dried blood and skid marks. Some women were wailing uncontrollably, calling for justice.
Mr Chipinda said the armed gang attacked them while they were seated around a fire outside the house while enjoying beer. “We were five and seated outside the house in a cabin that we use as a kitchen while drinking our beer. It was around 9PM when the gang just appeared from the dark,” he said.
Mr Chipinda said he was hit on the head with an empty beer bottle and fled into the house.
“I locked the door. But the gang, numbering about 13, chopped down the door with machetes,” he said.
“I tried to escape using the other exit. Unfortunately, they had surrounded the house and one of them stabbed me on the abdomen with a knife. I heard one of them shouting that I wasn’t the one they were looking for, so they let me go.”
He said the gang left soon afterwards.
“When I went outside to check on the others, Tafadzwa was lying on the ground near the gate. It looks like he was trying to escape and they got hold of him and cut him up badly with the machetes. Tshuma looked dead in the corridor,” said Mr Chipinda.
“Chibharo and Norest were also lying on the ground. Blood was gushing from deep cuts on their bodies and they were screaming for help.”
He said he blacked out momentarily. “When I regained my senses, I called police,” Mr Chipinda said.
Some neighbours said they may know the gang.
“Tafadzwa was seen whipping one of them with a sjambok two days back, so it could be emanating from that case. I think it was a revenge mission,” said a neighbour on condition of anonymity.
Midlands Provincial Spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende could neither confirm nor deny the incident. “I can neither confirm nor deny the matter. I am actually hearing it from you, I will be able to comment after I receive the details,” she said.
The gruesome murder comes amid an outcry from Kwekwe residents who are living in fear of the machete attacks that usually emanate from fights over mining pits.