SENIOR STAFF WRITER
POLICE have arrested over 25 000 artisanal miners operating illegally since the beginning of the year.
This comes after the police launched an operation in January dubbed “Chikorokoza Ngachipere” following a surge in illegal mining and violent crimes perpetrated by machete gangs.
National police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi said they had arrested 25 458 suspects since the onset of the operation.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is warning the public against illegal mining activities in the country.
“On March 10, 82 people were arrested for mining-related offences in an operation code-named ‘chikorokoza ngachipere’, ‘isitsheketsha kasiphele’, ‘no to machete wielding gangs’.
“This is an on-going operation and the police will not rest until we bring an end to the illegal activities. Those found on the wrong side of the law will be arrested and prosecuted,” Nyathi said.
Artisanal miners have invaded a number of disused mines and claims across the country in search of gold and other valuable minerals.
With limited police presence in most of these areas, violent and deadly turf wars often break out between rival artisanal miners’ gangs.
Besides fighting against each, surrounding communities are also at the mercy of these machete-wielding violent gangs.
Last week, police also confirmed the arrest of 19 531 suspects since the launch of an operation against criminal activity that had surged in the country.
Police launched the operation following an unprecedented rise in crime over the past few months which put them on high alert to quell operations of criminals who target and pounce on unsuspecting citizens.
The operation is targeting mostly unregistered cars like the Honda Fit, Toyota Wish and Raum models that police say seem to be preferred by the culprits who commit serious crimes including robberies. And thousands have been arrested since the start of the operation.
“The ZRP has intensified operations; ‘no to unregistered motor vehicles’, ‘no to touts’, ‘no to illegal fuel dealers’, ‘no to illegal forex dealers’, ‘no to dangerous weapons’, ‘no to machete gangs’ and ‘no to cross border crimes’ among other police operations,” Nyathi said.