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Armed Robbers Hit Harare Office of London Firm Contesting Zimbabwe Diamond Rights


Sources said the robbery occurred as the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe prepared to transport some 300,000 carats of disputed diamonds to the Reserve Bank for safekeeping

The Harare offices of African Consolidated Resources, a London-based firm in litigation with Zimbabwe seeking to enforce its rights to develop the Marange diamond fields, were robbed by armed men on Tuesday, sources said.

Sources said the robbery occurred as the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe prepared to transport some 300,000 carats of disputed diamonds to the Reserve Bank for safekeeping. Computers and a vehicle were stolen from the offices of ACR, which claims ownership of those diamonds.

The vehicle was later found abandoned.

Industry sources called the robbery brazen as the ACR offices are near police headquarters in downtown Harare. The transfer of the diamonds was called off because of the break-in, sources said.

Lawyer Jonathan Samkange, representing ACR, said he believes the robbery was staged to intimidate the company and discourage it from pursuing its claim to the right to develop the controversial diamond field.

Samkange said a decision has now been made to transfer the diamonds to the Reserve Bank in phases with the first batch being transported secretly after an RBZ expert verified the authenticity of the raw diamonds.

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