Prosper Dembedza Herald Reporter
A long running battle to control Eskbank Farm located along Mazowe Road between the farm owner and gold panners turned violent yesterday after three farm workers were seriously injured when they were attacked by the rowdy panners.
The injured farm workers were taken to Marlborough Police Station where the matter was reported, before being ferried to Parirenyatwa Hospital.
The workers said they were attacked by the gold panners while they were ploughing the field which the panners consider to be their area of operation.
The gold panners have in the past clashed with the farm workers, resulting in the farm owner at one time obtaining a peace and eviction order.
The three workers said they were attacked by at least 20 people who were armed with knobkerries and metal bars after they approached them while working on the disputed field.
“When they arrived, they ordered the tractor driver to stop the tractor before assaulting all of us with metal bars and knobkerries,” said one of the injured workers who identified himself as Leonard Dzakatira.
The tractor driver who identified himself as Beven Chihoboya said the panners attempted to set the farm machinery ablaze on Thursday afternoon, while he was ploughing in the same field.
“Our boss was granted a peace and an eviction order against these illegal panners a long time ago, but still they are refusing to vacate the farm,” said Chihoboya. He said last year they incurred a loss of over $30 000 as the panners kept on digging up their planted crop as they searched for gold.
Police at Marlborough confirmed having received the report of assault and said investigations were still in progress with the aim of arresting the assailants.