CNRG Statement on the spike in diamond heists in Marange

On Saturday the 2nd of February 2019, armed military men stormed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in a fashion similar to the January 15 raid. The armed military men who stormed the premises of the diamond mining company looking for diamonds dropped a gun after they were outnumbered by ZCDC security who confronted them with dogs. The soldiers dropped a gun as they tried to climb the perimeter fence. The gun was confiscated by ZCDC security. It has come to the attention of CNRG that in Marange, soldiers have been involved in running battles with ZCDC security guards for the past 3 years. The soldiers gang up with artisanal miners whom they assist to get diamond ore and escort out of the premises to areas where they do the processing.

CNRG blames the looting solely on militarisation of diamond mining. Theft of diamond ore from ZCDC in Marange by members of the military exposes the government of Zimbabwe for negating the commitments it made in a joint work plan with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in Namibia in November 2009. Zimbabwe made commitments to demilitarise Marange diamond fields, following an Administrative Decision (AD) that the country has to provide security and strengthen internal controls, curb illegal digging, regulate alluvial artisanal mining in line with Kimberly Process best practices. The militarisation of diamond mining in Chiadzwa has opened avenues for looting and perpetuated human rights violations by the feared armed forces and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.

CNRG continues to call for demilitarisation of mining in Zimbabwe. The security sector has been looting diamonds with impunity since their discovery in Marange, under the guise of providing protection. Diamonds continue to disappear under the protection of gun wielding soldiers who have been assigned to protect the gems in Marange. Instead, soldiers deployed in Marange area have for long been trampling on people’s freedom of movement by harassing and intimidating those found close to the diamond fields. Soldiers should stay in the barracks and leave the mining business to miners. We call upon President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Commander of the Defence Forces Philip Valerio Sibanda to expedite the return of the military to the barracks.

The theft also exposes laxity of security in the handling of diamonds, of which security is a key component of the Kimberly Process minimum standards. CNRG calls on the government of Zimbabwe and ZCDC to abide by the KP standards in order to curb leakages. We also call upon Zimbabwe, which sits in the KP Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production, to urgently implement the Washington Declaration on integrating artisanal and small scale diamond mining with KP implementation.

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