Chinese General Injured in Marange Army Ops
A senior Chinese military man is injured and reported missing in Marange amid brutal Zimbabwean army operations, Now Daily can exclusively reveal.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces invaded the Marange diamond fields to flush out thousands of illegal miners who have flooded the area after president Robert Mugabe banned the Chinese Red Army from mining there on February 22 2016. At least 20 illegal miners have been killed since last week, sparking outrage from human rights defenders.
The general is reported to have flown into the disputed diamond fields to oversee the evacuation of Chinese Army soldiers deployed there and posing as civilian workers. Sources said the general was cut off from his unit when he ventured inland with a group of illegal diamond buyers. Government ministers visited the area Wednesday and confirmed the chaos. Mugabe has launched a desperate but largely futile diplomatic effort to pacify a disgruntled Beijing, which has privately threatened military action against Harare to secure its investments, according to sources. Some of the banned Chinese Red Army firms, including Anjin, have approached the High Court to challenge Mugabe’s order on the grounds that it violated international investment agreements. Mugabe’s unilateral declaration also violates a deal for Beijing to supply the regime with weapons and provide military training in exchange for the diamonds. Billions of dollars worth of gemstones have been spirited out in Chinese Fokker airplanes using an airfield they constructed there to facilitate the smuggling.
At least 20 people are confirmed dead in the latest army offensive, which has been declared illegal by the High Court. The army violence has triggered renewed international calls for Zimbabwe to be banned from the regulatory Kimberly Process Certification System. Workers from the seven banned Chinese diamond joint ventures with the state in Marange said they had been forced to flee the area, which has been taken over by the ZDF.
“We had to run away and leave everything, including personal property because of the army violence, which was targeting everyone, including gwejas (illegal miners) and bona fide workers. We were just told by the army that we were no longer employed there and we should leave. We had not been paid for three months,” said former workers at Diamond Mining Corporation, where 15 illegal miners were thrown by army soldiers to their deaths in a water-filled mine shaft on Tuesday.
Mines and mining development minister Walter Chidhakwa announced the formation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company to take over operations of firms fronting for the Chinese Red Army.
On Thursday, Mugabe went on television to pour vitriol on the Chinese companies which used to mine diamonds in Marange. He claimed they had stolen diamonds worth more than $15 billion while the state received only $2 billion in revenues. Mugabe said he had told Chinese president Xi Jingpin about the corruption and there would be no diplomatic fallout from the expulsions of Chinese army companies.
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