THE number of illegal miners arrested countrywide in the week-long police operation to restore law and order in mining communities has risen to 1 823 with the latest batch including a suspected member of the Ziga machete gang that allegedly killed Constable Wonder Hokoyo at Battlefields recently.
Lloyd Kasena (age not given) was arrested in Shamva after being linked to the case and was yesterday still assisting police with investigations.
Kasena's arrest comes after Phelandaba Tshuma (32), the suspected ringleader of the Ziga machete gang, was arrested last week.
Tshuma was arrested at his hideout in Rushinga, after he attempted to flee and was shot.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests yesterday.
"Of interest is the arrest of one Lloyd Kasena who belongs to a machete gang called Ziga. He was on police's most wanted list for the murder of Constable Wonder Hokoyo and has since confessed to that.
"He also has cases of attempted murder and assault committed in 2018 and six cases of robbery which occurred in 2019.
"He is the one in the video that recently went viral on social media while holding a Colombian knife and wearing blue a T-shirt, shouting 'Ziga', in the company of Phelandaba Tshuma," he said.
Kasena will appear in court soon once investigations are complete.
Asst Comm Nyathi confirmed that police had now arrested 1 823 suspected illegal miners during the ongoing operation code-named "Chikorokoza Ngachipere/No to Machete Gangs".
"We would like to urge licensed miners and farmers to report any illegal miners and machete gangs that are hiding on their farms. So far there is compliance at Jumbo Mine and ZRP is on top of the situation," he said.
Police recently sealed off Jumbo Mine in Mazowe, a move aimed at restoring law and order to the area.
Jumbo Mine has been a haven for illegal activities with a high prevalence of machete wars that claimed lives and injured many.
Meanwhile, police this week arrested 45 illegal gold panners and eight vendors at Vhovha Mine in Gwanda, while five more were arrested for disorderly conduct.
"Mining implements, dangerous weapons such as axes, knobkerries, iron bars and an assortment of food stuffs, drinks, soap, and liquor were recovered in the process," Asst Comm Nyathi said.