A Kimberley Process review team in Zimbabwe to probe alleged mass killings by the military in an eastern diamond field was in the zone Wednesday seeking testimony from local residents who might have witnessed the abuses charged by Human Rights Watch last week.
But Manicaland province spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Kimberly Process team was unable to make an independent assessment as it was closely monitored by government officials.
VOA was unable to reach the Kimberly Process team directly for comment.
Human Rights Watch issued a report last week saying more than 200 people were killed by members of the Zimbabwean armed forces after it took over the diamond rich Chiadzwa area of Marange district, Manicaland province, and compelled others to mine for diamonds.
The Tsvangirai MDC formation meanwhile distanced itself from remarks made by Deputy Mines Minister Murisi Zwizwai, a member of the party, who said last week at a mining conference in Namibia that one had been killed by security forces in the Marange diamond fields.
Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the party considered that the minister’s remarks were premature and inaccurate pending the completion of investigations.