The Zimbabwe Republic Police have arrested more than 1 500 illegal artisanal miners and 3 471 people found in possession of dangerous weapons including machetes in all mining areas across the country.
According to the Home Affairs and National Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, they have moved a gear up in the raids as these issues are of a security threat.
Matabeleland North topped the list of the illegal miners arrested with 546, while Bulawayo had the least with 27.
Mashonaland East had 53, Midlands (200), Harare (200), Manicaland (42), Masvingo (46), Mashonaland Central (83), Matabeleland South (147) and Mashonaland West (186) illegal miners arrested.
“We have met with our Mines and Mining Development ministry counterparts and the police commanders today to discuss the topical issues of the machete-wielding gangs.
“The media is awash with stories of machete-wielding gang wars and this is worrisome to us as we want peace and security to prevail.
“We will continue with the raids because we are saying Zimbabwe is open for business. We cannot attract investors if law and order is not prevailing in the country. We have moved a gear up in the raids as these issues are of a security threat,” said Minister Kazembe.
Recently, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the government is coming up with an instrument that will give mandatory jail sentences to those found in possession of machetes in mining areas.