The Zimbabwe Republic police have arrested two members of a machete wielding gang that allegedly killed a police officer who was on duty at Good Hope Mine, Battlefield near Kadoma last week.
According to reports, Constable Wonder Hokoyo was killed on Saturday while his colleague Constable Kamhuka is fighting for life at Kadoma General Hospital after illegal gold panners tagged AmaShurugwi attacked them.
Comm Gen Matanga, on twitter, said police were working flat out to bring sanity in mining areas that are infested with machete wielding gangs.
“Two suspects have since been arrested and police have launched a manhunt for their accomplices who are on the run. My office would like to therefore discourage members of the public from attacking police officers performing their duties. May I take this opportunity to reiterate that the Zimbabwe Republic Police will not tolerate acts of violence by artisanal miners in any part of the country, anyone who therefore decides to disregard the laws of the land and cause anarchy will be dealt with severely in terms of the country’s laws,” said Comm Gen Matanga.
He warned gold panners that attacking police officers was a serious crime and those who dared do so will be dealt with accordingly.
“My office will ensure that police deployments in mining areas are influenced by the need to protect and preserve life and property as outlined in section 219 of the Constitution.
“My office will therefore not stand by and allow unruly elements to attack police officers. No one should interfere with or attack police officers who are maintaining law and order at mining sites. Anyone who decides or attempts to disarm officers on duty risks being shot,” he said.
“The Regulating Authorities will be issuing prohibition orders barring the carrying of machetes and other weapons such as knives, catapults, iron bars and knobkerries in terms of section four of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act chapter 11:23. This means that it is a criminal offence for anyone to be found in possession of the cited weapons and police officers are expected to effect arrests for the law to take its course,” he said.
Meanwhile, Comm Gen Matanga urged potential miners to obtain the relevant licence or permit before engaging in mining activities to avoid being arrested and also help alleviate illegal mining in the country.
He said police have partnered with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to curtail illegal mining activities.
Comm Gen Matanga said the partnership also seeks to ensure that all mining disputes, disused and decommissioned mines are monitored.
“Finally let me assure all Zimbabweans that the ZRP is ready to maintain law and order in all parts of the country. I urge members of the public to cooperate with police officers as they perform their duties. On the other hand, members of the public should report acts of lawlessness and violence to any nearest police station. let us all promote law and order and engage in lawful and regularised mining activities,” he said.
Meanwhile, police on Tuesday rounded up 100 illegal gold panners and vendors in separate raids at Good Hope Mine in Kadoma and Jumbo Mine in Mazowe, both epicentres of recent serious violence.
Of the 100 arrested, 28 were netted at Good Hope Mine while 72 were picked up at Jumbo Mine. Police also impounded three vehicles that were loaded with gold ore