Mugabe, Zimbabwean military earning "blood money" after diamond field massacre: HRW

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London, June 26 (ANI): A Human Rights Watch report has claimed that senior leaders in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the country's armed forces are making millions from a diamond field where hundreds of miners were massacred last year.

The Zanu-PF rewarded the country's military with mineral deposits to suppress illegal miners at eastern Zimbabwe's Chiadzwa Diamond deposits, the report says.

Ignoring a British company's legal claim, the Mugabe government declared the diamond field open in 2006, leaving it prone to illegal mining, the Daily Telegraph reports.

According to HRW's report, 'Diamonds in the Rough', hundreds of Zimbabwean soldiers, some of them airborne, were sent in to evict the miners by force, and "at least 214" people were killed at Chiadzwa.

"The police and army have turned this peaceful area into a nightmare of lawlessness and horrific violence. Zimbabwe's new government should get the army out of the fields, put a stop to the abuse, and prosecute those responsible," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at HRV.

Operation Hakudzokwi or 'No Return' lasted for three weeks in October and November 2008.

Thousands of miners fled the region, and mining and the associated revenues are now controlled by the military and police.

While the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is on a tour of Europe and the US seeking funding for reconstruction, it is estimated that the diamond fields, if operated legally, could earn the government 200 million dollars a month, the report says.

Joyce Mujuru, the Zanu-PF vice-president, is also alleged to own a claim in the diamond fields.

"Soldiers on mission in Marange would first get special allowances directly from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and then be offered a 'once- in-a-lifetime' opportunity to benefit directly from diamond smuggling. The plan was for all army units to rotate and take turns to 'guard' the diamond fields and take the associated benefits," the report said. (ANI)

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