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MANZINI - There was another fatal shootout at the Green Chert stone mine on Friday.

This time around, one suspected illegal miner was shot dead by security guards and one is fighting for his life in hospital, while the third, who was armed with a gun, managed to escape.
The incident took place during a fierce shootout between three suspected illegal miners, who took their chances to illegally mine Green Chert stone at the mine at Malolotja in the late afternoon of Friday June 9, 2023. The Green Chert stone mine is located near Malolotja Nature Reserve in the Hhohho Region and Top 2 Security Services was hired to protect the mineral from illegal miners. According to a source close to the matter, on Friday – just after 5pm, three suspected illegal Green Chert miners purportedly cut off the fence surrounding the mine in order to gain entry.


He said one of the suspected illegal miners was armed with a gun, while the others were carrying other weapons, including bush knives. The source said they manged to sneak their way to the precious stone and the security guards, who are manning the mine, spotted them digging the mineral, as they were conducting their routine patrols. Then, he said in a bid to stop and apprehend them, they fired several warning shots. However, instead of surrendering themselves, the illegal miners bolted into the thick forest, while the one who was armed with a gun fired shots at the security guard. Thereafter, a hot pursuit ensued and the security guard retaliated by opening fire at the suspected illegal miners.


In the process, he said one was shot dead, while the other was shot in the shoulder and managed to escape. He said they chased him and he eventually jumped into a donga and disappeared into the thick forest as it was already dark. “The third suspect managed to escape and after the shootout, the guards spent some time searching for the one who  was shot in the shoulder, but in vain. However, later on, he was found and was taken to hospital by the police,” the source said. He said the incident was reported to the police and they also came to the scene.


After inspecting the scene, including the fence which the suspected illegal miners had cut off in order to gain entry into the premises of the mine, they took the body of the deceased to hospital, where he was certified dead upon arrival. Meanwhile, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed the incident. She said one man was shot dead. Efforts of getting a comment from the security company management proved futile as the manager’s phone rang unanswered for the better part of yesterday. In January 2023, three suspected illegal miners were shot dead by the security guards during a shootout between the two. The shootout started after the security guards spotted the suspected illegal miners stealing Green Chert stones from the mine.