Human Remains Litter Chiadzwa

Sources from both Canadile Mining and Mbada Diamonds said they had been unearthing skeletons ever since they started operations last year.

This latest revelation comes amid government’s spirited claims that no one was killed during the army crack- down to rid Chiadzwa of thousands of fortune seekers who descended on the area in search of the precious stones.

Human rights watchers estimate that at least 200 people were killed during the operation.

“It’s very scary,” said a worker from Canadile Mining. “We are coming across skeletons in the diamond fields. I shudder to imagine what happened here.”

Last week remains of one illegal miner were positively identified as belonging to Vheremu Tim Amulange Love.

He was identified by the clothes he was wearing the day he was killed during an army – led operation.

Another illegal panner, Tapiwa Mangwiro, 27, albeit, by coincidence, positively identified the remains of his friend as they were together the day he was killed.

A police source said Mangwiro, an illegal diamond panner from Hwedza, was walking in a mountain in Kuhudzere Village in Chiadzwa and discovered the human remains.

The police source said a pink and blue jacket and a stripped T-shirt were also found at the scene. The source said the police were now urging the relatives of the dead man to visit Marange Police Station.

The discoveries of skeletons come amid a visit to Chiadzwa by Abbey Chikane, a monitor of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

It was not clear whether he was informed of the presence of skeletons all over the diamond fields.

Diamonds from Chiadzwa have been mired in controversy amid calls by human rights organizations and Western countries that they are “bloody”.

 Allegations of killings and rights violations by troops and smuggling of “blood diamonds” have surrounded the discovery of the extensive Marange deposits four years ago.

 President Robert Mugabe’s government vehemently rejects the charges.

However, the KP monitor who toured Chiadzwa said Zimbabwe was “on track” to meet international diamond mining standards and the body is expected to follow his advice.

Chikane said it was agreed soldiers would stay in Marange until the government had created a safe environment for investors.

Chikane, in Zimbabwe on a fact finding mission on the trade of the precious gems on Thursday said he was discussing with the government on how the army could be removed from diamond fields in Chiadzwa.

Chikane, who arrived on Monday, said he will prepare a report on his current tour with the major focus on wether Zimbabwe will keep the army at diamond fields.

 “I wanted to find their views whether the army should be involved. If the army is to be withdrawn the planners may move in. This is the challenge I wanted to discuss with them,” Chikane told journalists.

“The general consensus is that the army should remain until government creates a conducive environment for investors. There might be need for the training of some of the soldiers so that their work is consistent with what is required in the diamond industry.”

“I will write a report making my recommendations for Zimbabwe to start trading (in diamonds) very soon,” Chikane said.

Zimbabwe diamonds are reportedly being traded without following proper requirements of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) which regulates the trade of the mineral.

The KPCS has been concerned about Zimbabwe’s move to deploy the army and the police in the Chiadzwa diamond fields and after they were complaints of human rights abuses by the law enforcement agencies.

Diamond miner, Mbada holdings, a company controversially awarded a diamond mining lisence by the government in January tried to sale diamonds without following the proper process required by the KPCS.

The diamond saga has also roped in the police who through their Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri who has said they want to benefit from the gems in Marange.

A damning report will mean Zimbabwe may face ban to trade in diamonds or it may delay the process of when the country will start selling the gems.