Centre News Reporter.

Villagers around Bikita Minerals Lithium mine have expressed concern over alleged disappearing of their dogs and have accused Chinese nationals working at the giant mine of stealing their pets for meat.

Speaking in a local social media platform discussion, villagers in nearby Gutu and Bikita alleged that Chinese working in cahoots with local unemployed boys, are behind the disappearing of their dogs as the Asians are known consumers of dog meat which is a delicacy in their tradition.

“I have been missing my 2 dogs since November last year and I strongly suspect that they were stolen by the Chinese working with some local boys they pay handsomely,” said Taruvinga Magaya from Makwirivindi.

The discussion came up after a member posted a trending video of two Chinese nationals and a black local guy skinning a dog.

Some members claimed that the individuals on the video were from Sinomine owned Bikita Minerals Lithium mine, an allegation the mine was quick to dismiss.

Another villager from Marozva who declined to be mentioned said they were so many reports in their area of missing dogs.

“I know a lot of people who lost their dogs and this started happening about two years ago when the Chinese arrived in our area, we know that they eat dogs and enjoy them so they are our chief suspects,”

The allegations were confirmed by a local human rights group, Bikita Institute of Land and Development (BILAD), Director, Mountain Mujakachi.

“Yes we have received reports from villagers that they are losing their dogs and fingers are being pointed at our foreign investors at the mine, the problem is that the villagers do  not have evidence so they have not been reporting the cases to the police,” said Mujakachi.

Villagers value their dogs as they protect their homestead from thieves and wild animals especially at night, while others use them for hunting to add food on the tables.

Masvingo Provincial Police Spokesperson, Kudakwashe Dehwa said they had not received cases of stolen dogs in Bikita and surrounding districts.

“We have not received any case like that so far , I have checked with Bikita Police and there are no such cases,” Said Dehwa.

Bikita Lithium Spokesperson, Collins Nikisi said “Those are lies bro and that video is not from Bikita,”

But some villagers said they were not reporting the case to the police because they were not aware that one can report a dog if stolen as they are used to report cases of cattle rustling and other livestock such as goats and sheep.