A sombre atmosphere engulfed Chigumbura homestead in Nyandoro Village on the outskirts of Mudhindo Growth Point, under Chief Bepura in Guruve last Sunday as relatives and friends gathered to pay their last respects to a teenager who had been fatally shot a few days earlier.
The grieving parents of the deceased are still in a state of shock and are yet to come to terms with the death of their 18-year-old son.
An eulogy painted Takunda Chigumbura as a quiet, unassuming and peace-loving boy who never picked a fight with anyone.
The small gathering could not understand why such a fine teenager lost his life so tragically. Takunda completed his O Levels at the end of last year and had ventured into gold panning like his peers.
Life could not have been better for him as he was now earning enough to look after his family. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, this was not to be for long. Peer pressure got the better of him and he was pulled into a revenge mission which in hindsight he should not have been part of.
Things took a cruel and unexpected twist one afternoon on August 31 when Takunda teamed up with five friends for Shinje Gold Mine in Guruve to exact revenge on mine guards who had earlier arrested and tortured their 15-year-old colleague for illegally panning for gold at their premises.
Armed with stones and a firearm, the teenagers advanced on the mine and attacked three security guards.
In the ensuing melee, one of the guards who was armed with a rifle fired shots, one of which hit Takunda on the shoulder.
Takunda’s father, Mr Fortune Chigumbura, said he was saddened by the death of his first born son and wanted the security guard arrested and charged with murder.
“From information that we gathered, the boys went to the mountains where they had been working in search of gold ore just like children of the same age in this area are now doing.
“We hear a security guard at the mine came across a boy aged 15, who got lost at the mine premises. The guard and his colleagues badly assaulted the boy.
“My son and his five colleagues went looking for the boy and saw him being assaulted by the security guards,” he said.
The boys went away only to come back later on the fateful revenge mission. The security guards started running away fearing an attack.
“While they were fleeing, one of the security guards is said to have suddenly turned and fired a shot which hit my son on the shoulder. From what I heard, my son didn’t say anything or attack anyone during the process. This is what is saddening me,” said Mr Chigumbura.
A relative, Mr George Chigumbura said a gold rush around the village had seen teenagers flocking to Nyakapupu area in search of the precious mineral.
“There is also a private mine where they were going. The security guards at the mine had warned that they didn’t want to see anyone near the premises.
“One of them was apprehended by the guards and was assaulted and made to roll on some ashes and this did not go down well with his colleagues who then went to the mine and confronted the security guards. That was when Takunda was shot,” he said.
He doubted reports that the boys had a firearm.
“Those are unconfirmed reports. Even if one of them was armed, why would the guard shoot the one who was not armed?”
He described Takunda as someone who was very quiet and had been living with his grandparents after his parents separated.
Takunda’s grandmother, Mrs Judith Chigumbura, said she heard that after he had been shot he bled profusely but managed to seek refuge at another mine where he later died. She said they were informed about the incident and went to the mine where they found Takunda’s body.
Police in Guruve said gold panning was rife in the area with teenagers sometimes raiding mines in search of gold ore. Most of the panning was concentrated in mountains in Guruve and Shinje areas where buyers frequent to buy the gold ore from the youths.