Villagers in Dinde, Hwange district on Wednesday clashed with a Chinese company after it attempted to commence exploration for coal in the area without consulting the community.
About 60 angry villagers besieged the site demanding answers from Beifer Investment consultant, Joshua Munyumbwe for trying to go ahead with exploration for coal while a dispute on the whole process has not been resolved.
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The villagers fear displacement, loss of field and pasture, desecration of cultural heritage sites, pollution and environmental degradation among other things
Reports indicate that the company intends to explore coal deposits in three wards covering 470 000 ha riding on a special grant permit.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matebeleland North, Richard Moyo has already been to the area in a bid to break the impasse between the community and the Chinese investor.
Speaking to CITE about the yesterday’s events, vice-chairperson of the Dinde Residents Association, Never Tshuma said:
When we arrived there we found that a tent had been pitched and there were two Chinese nationals and the consultant who were being guarded by two security personnel from the company.
The tent was pitched around 3 pm yesterday with no consultation with the local leadership which irked villagers.
The consultant has no respect for the local leadership going forward with such moves will only serve to increase resistance among the people.
There were two security guards together with the Chinese from the company who were chased away from the site by villagers.
The angry people were stopped from nearly destroying the tent by Reeds Dube (Zanu PF shadow MP) who advised them that doing so would be breaking the law.
Munyumbwe reportedly droved to Hwange and returned in the company of police officers after he heard that the site had been beseiged by villagers.
The police have since summoned both parties to a meeting at Hwange Police Station this Thursday over the incident.