Residents of Chiadzwa, a diamond-rich area in Manicaland province, Zimbabwe, clashed with security forces this week over allegations of looting and mismanagement of mining proceeds. The confrontation began at Chingome Business Centre and resulted in the arrest of a former Zanu-PF councillor and 10 others.
According to local residents, they have not benefited from the diamonds being mined in their area and are also unhappy about travel restrictions imposed by the government. Tensions have been rising in the area as villagers adopt a more proactive approach in expressing their concerns.
The arrested individuals, including former councillor Daniel Nyazika and his family, have been charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice. During the incident, residents at the business center were indiscriminately assaulted by the security forces, resulting in damage to property.
Civil society organizations have previously raised concerns about human rights abuses by state security agents in the area. The Centre for Research and Development (CRD) posted a video on Twitter showing a vehicle belonging to Nyazika that was allegedly smashed by state security agents during the raid. The organization also reported incidences of Chiadzwa villagers with broken limbs and other serious injuries attributed to abuses by state security agents in the area.
As the situation in Chiadzwa continues to escalate, locals are calling on the government to address their concerns and fulfill promises made to them after they were relocated from their ancestral homes for the mining of diamonds.