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Zimbabwe, Chiadzwa families forced to move by brutal soldiers

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The remaining families in the diamond rich Chiadzwa area have been forced to leave their homes, after soldiers launched a brutal eviction process over the weekend.

A distraught man called the MDC-T offices on Saturday saying the process was being done hurriedly and “properties are being destroyed in the hasty operation.”

“We are being moved from Chiadzwa right now, and the soldiers are being brutal. Our properties are being destroyed, and we are not even sure of where we are being moved to,” the man said, before the phone went dead.

It was reported last week that one of the mining firms granted a licence by the government to mine at Chiadzwa, had recruited soldiers to start removing the remaining 40 families in the area. The families had previously refused to move until fair compensation had been paid to them. But it was reported that the mining firm, the Chinese company Anjin, recruited soldiers to start moving the families on.

Meanwhile, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has said the families will not be compensated, until Zimbabwe is allowed to sell its diamonds on the international market.

Zimbabwe’s status as a legal diamond exporter remains unclear, with the international diamond trade monitor, the Kimberley Process (KP), not reaching any consensual agreement on the country’s trade future. The KP’s new chairman, Mathieu Yamba from the DRC, earlier this year unilaterally announced that Zimbabwe could resume exports. But other KP members have said that no decision can be taken yet, because of ongoing concerns that Zimbabwe is not compliant with international trade standards.

There are ongoing reports of abuse and smuggling out of Chiadzwa, despite Mpofu’s insistence that the country’s mining sector is meeting the standards set by the KP. The insistence by Mpofu that no local villagers will be compensated for their forced moves, are now being viewed as a new threat. Mpofu has previously threatened to sell Zim diamonds without KP approval, to try and force the watchdog group to make a decision in the government’s favour.

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