Zimbabwe: 200 Illegal Miners Arrested in Mazowe

17 January 2020

Two hundred more illegal miners were arrested in Mazowe, bringing to 1 107 the number of those netted in the blitz in Mashonaland Central Province this week.

This came as security guards at a mine in Battlefields fought off a machete gang of around 60, killing one.

The suspects who are still assisting police with investigations, are expected to appear in court soon on charges including illegal possession of gold, criminal trespassing and prospecting for gold without licences.

In a statement yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests.

"In the ongoing operation against illegal mining activities code named, "Chikorokoza Ngachipere", 200 people were arrested on January 15, 2020 in Mazowe, for illegal gold panning and other related charges," he said.

"The public is warned against frequenting and associating with illegal miners as some arrests were made for criminal trespassing, prospecting for gold without licences and being found in possession of gold without requisite permits."

On Tuesday, 907 illegal miners were arrested on the first day of the major police crackdown, while 18 vehicles were impounded.

Most of the arrests took place at Jumbo Mine, as pressure to crush machete gangs intensifies.

The raids saw 740 being arrested at Jumbo Mine, 139 in Shamva and 28 at Mazowe Bridge.

Police also recovered equipment used by the illegal miners and these include water pumps, hammer mills, generators, electric cables, solar panels and explosive fuses.

They also seized 3kg of mbanje arresting drug dealers and those selling meat without licences.

In Kadoma district, a 27-year-old man was shot dead by a security guard at a mine in Battlefields.

"The deceased was part of about 60 illegal miners who raided a mine which was being manned by three guards," said Asst Comm Nyathi.

"When they were asked to leave, the deceased, armed with an axe and a knife menacingly charged towards one of the guards intending to disarm him.

"He was shot by one of the guards who realised that his colleague's life was in danger. The rest of the illegal miners fled from the scene after the incident.

"Violence of any form will not be tolerated and like-minded elements are warned that the wrath of the law will be severely applied."

In another incident, 48-year-old man who was panning for gold reportedly went missing and fears are that he could have been devoured by crocodiles.

The incident occurred at the crocodile infested Hunyani River.

"It is suspected that the man was devoured by crocodiles while panning for gold in the river. The body has not been recovered yet," Asst Comm Nyathi said.

Police have also noted with concern that some illegal miners were searching for gold near key infrastructure such as roads, clinics, railway lines and schools in Chegutu.

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