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Viewing cable 09HARARE24, MILITARY EXPANSION FUELS DIAMOND CHAOS XXXXXXXXXXXX

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09HARARE24 2009-01-09 08:08 2010-12-08 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Harare
VZCZCXRO2958
OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0024/01 0090843
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 090843Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3900
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0003
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2535
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2657
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1150
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0234
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1926
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2281
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2706
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0529
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5134
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0068
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 5616
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0021
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1813
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000024 

SIPDIS 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH 
DRL FOR N. WILETT 
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU 
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS 
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS 
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/09/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON EMIN RS ZI
SUBJECT: MILITARY EXPANSION FUELS DIAMOND CHAOS XXXXXXXXXXXX

REF: A. IIR 6 926 0058 09 
B. 08 HARARE 1016 
C. 08 HARARE 1035 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d) 

------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 

1. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX, poloff met with XXXXXXXXXXXX, 
XXXXXXXXXXXX region that contains the 
diamond-rich Marange fields, to discuss violence in the 
region as well as recent developments in the turbulent 
Marange diamond trade. XXXXXXXXXXXX described how the military 
expansion in XXXXXXXXXXXX in late November has been displacing 
the police and diverting the diamond flow from the Reserve 
Bank of Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwean military. This has not 
deterred the continued brisk diamond trade involving foreign 
buyers, including most prominently the Lebanese. END SUMMARY. 

------------------------------------ 
Shootings Continue as Bodies Pile Up 
------------------------------------ 

2. (C) The tribal chief XXXXXXXXXXXX, met 
with poloff in Harare XXXXXXXXXXXX and confirmed that 
military and police shootings in Marange are continuing, as 
security forces tighten their control over the diamond-rich 
area. This was seconded by a report we received from a human 
rights group in the region (REF A). According to the report, 
during police and military Operation Hakudzokwi, (Shona for 
"you won't come back") which was aimed at clearing individual 
panners from the area, over 200 bodies turned up at Mutare 
Provincial Hospital Mortuary, Old Mutare Mission Hospital, 
Sakubva District Hospital, and private mortuaries. Many of 
those bodies arrived with fatal gunshot or dog bite wounds 
and were tagged "BID Marange" or "brought in dead from 
Marange." 

3. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX many of his people have been 
killed, beaten, and arrested for dealing in diamonds. The 
villagers had entrusted their diamond findings to XXXXXXXXXXXX
because he owned a safe and they thought his tribal status 
would be respected; however, the police forced him to turn 
over the village's diamond stash to the security forces. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX is now in hiding in Harare. He also told us
XXXXXXXXXXXX he had been harassed, arrested, and beaten beat out . XXXXXXXXXXXX END NOTE.) 

---------------------------------------- 
Military Expansion Displacing the Police 
---------------------------------------- 

4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX confirmed that the military has increased 
its numbers in the region and now exceeds the police presence 
by a large margin. He suspected the increase stemmed from 
concern that the power-sharing negotiations between ZANU-PF 
and the MDC might culminate in the awarding of the Home 

HARARE 00000024 002 OF 003 


Affairs ministry--which includes the police department--to 
the MDC. This would result in a tremendous loss of wealth 
and patronage that helps to maintain the Mugabe regime. 
Therefore, he believed that the military, which would remain 
under ZANU-PF control in the event of an agreement between 
the two parties, was seeking to consolidate its authority. 

5. (C) Digging by panners, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX, is 
continuing in Marange largely under the supervision of the 
military. The typical practice is for soldiers to supervise 
and escort groups of panners as they dig. Then at the end of 
the day, any diamonds found are apportioned between soldiers 
and diggers. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that military helicopters fly in 
daily and transport many of the diamonds to bases near 
Harare, where presumably they are taken by senior military 
commanders. 

-------------------------------------- 
Gono May Have Been Cut Out of the Deal 
-------------------------------------- 

6. (C) Prior to the military expansion in late November, it 
was well known by locals that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) 
governor Gideon Gono had representatives in Mutare buying 
diamonds with bundles of freshly-printed Zimbabwean notes 
(Ref B). XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that the military has now barred 
Gono's operatives from the region and that diamonds are no 
longer being sent to the RBZ. All diamond purchases are now 
being conducted solely in foreign exchange. (NOTE: According 
to an article in the state-controlled newspaper, the Herald, 
Tendai Makurumidzi, a well-known Gono buyer who uses the 
alias "Gonyeti" was arrested sometime in November and had 
three of his vehicles seized. END NOTE.) XXXXXXXXXXXX explained 
that it used to be common to see 4x4 vehicles leaving 
XXXXXXXXXXXX, but now the roads have deteriorated to the point 
that access is only possible by foot or helicopter. 
Vehicular access to the greater area is also being controlled 
by police and military roadblocks, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX. 

----------------------- 
Foreign Buying Unabated 
----------------------- 

7. (C) While Gono's access to diamonds may have been 
compromised, XXXXXXXXXXXX said that many diamonds are still being 
sold to foreign diamond buyers in Mutare and over the border 
in Mozambique by a mix of panners, police, and soldiers. In 
particular, Lebanese buyers have set up shop in large numbers 
in Mutare and typically pay for the diamonds with U.S. 
dollars. In order to operate safely, the Lebanese have 
formed profitable relationships with senior military and 
police officials in the region. Marginally more reputable 
buyers from Europe and other regions prefer to stay in 
Chimoio in Mozambique. Chimoio affords these buyers 
protection from Zimbabwean police and soldiers who commonly 
seize cash, diamonds, and vehicles from them in Mutare, but 
that safety is offset by higher diamond prices. 

------- 
COMMENT 
------- 

8. (C) We previously reported on a meeting between Gono and 
the Russian diamond monopoly ALROSA (Ref C) in November. 
Recent press reports, corroborated by Embassy sources, 

HARARE 00000024 003 OF 003 


indicate that Mugabe is planning a trip to Russia in January 
to discuss mining investment opportunities. With the GOZ 
desperate for forex, such a trip could involve discussion of 
a Chiadzwa diamond deal between Zimbabwe and Russia. END 
COMMENT. 

MCGEE