Chinese embassy apologises over shooting

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A CHINESE national has been arrested for attempted murder after he shot an employee six times on both thighs while another worker had his chin grazed by a bullet.

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Officials from the Chinese Embassy as well as the Chinese mining company Reden Mine yesterday met the victims families and the company said it would compensate them and pay medical costs.

The Chinese embassy said the isolated incident must not affect the good relations between Zimbabwe and China.Zhang Xuelin, a manager at Reden Mine allegedly shot Mr Kenneth Tachiona (39) six times on both legs as well as Ms Wendy Chikwaira (30) on the arm after they confronted him over outstanding salaries at around 9.30 AM on Sunday.

Mr Tachiona is recovering at Midlands Provincial Hospital in Gweru where he was admitted while Ms Chikwaira was treated and discharged.National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident, but said he was still waiting for more details from police in Gweru.

Reden Mining Company has since issued an apology following the incident and pledged to compensate the victims and their immediate families.

“As the Chinese community in Gweru, we deeply regret what transpired at Reden Mine in Gweru on Sunday 21 June 2020 when two company employees were unfortunately shot by one of the company managers following a pay dispute. What the manager did is his personal behavior and does not reflect the behaviour of us all as the Chinese community,” the company said in a statement.

It said information at hand indicates that the employees who had their contracts terminated demanded cash upfront upon dismissal. They allegedly forced their entry into the mine premises and charged towards the company manager soon after they disarmed a security detail who was manning the gate. 

“The mine manager who is still in police cells fired two shots in the air but the employees continued to charge towards him. Out of fear he shot the victim on the ankle. Meanwhile, we as the Chinese community are helping the injured who is in stable condition at a private hospital. Apart from footing the hospital bills, we are also assisting his family during this difficult period,” added the company.

The Chinese Embassy said the incident should not derail existing cordial relations.

“We are highly concerned about the case in which a Chinese employee of a private Chinese company near Gweru shot and injured a local employee due to a wage dispute yesterday. Although this is an isolated incident and the embassy has no law enforcement authority over the enterprise, we firmly support Zimbabwe’s law enforcement agencies to transparently and openly investigate and handle the case in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe,” the Embassy said in a statement. 

“Any possible illegal acts and persons who violate the law should not be shielded. China and Zimbabwe have long-standing friendship and cooperation. We call upon all relevant sides to safeguard it jealously and carefully.” 

Mr Tachiona’s young brother, Killian said his family met Reden Mine management, the Chinese Community in Gweru and officials from the Chinese Embassy to discuss how to assist his brother’s family.He said Reden Mine was meeting medical costs.

“So far we have met with the Chinese and they are showing remorse. What happened is sad and we are happy we have found a common goal that is to see my brother get well while they look after his family,” he said.

Chief Gambiza whose jurisdiction the mine falls under said he was glad that the family of the injured and the mine had met and found common ground.

“At the end of the day, we are looking at the greater good of the relations between Zimbabwe and China. We need this cooperation that exists but I call upon people with disputes to bring in a third party like the police if they fail to agree on the way forward. Violence doesn’t solve anything,” he said. Chronicle

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