MORE than 1 500 illegal artisanal miners and 3 471 people found in possession of dangerous weapons including machetes have been arrested in Zimbabwe so far as police move to crack down on the marauding gangs.
Addressing a news conference in Harare on Thursday, Home Affairs and National Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said police will continue with the raids to ensure that sanity prevails in all mining areas across the country.
Matabeleland North topped the list of the illegal miners arrested with 546, while Bulawayo had the least number, 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 were arrested.
“We have met with our Mines and Mining Development ministry counterparts and the police commanders today (Thursday) to discuss the issue. The media is awash with stories of machete wielding gang wars and this is worrisome to us as we want peace and security.
“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 a security threat,” said Minister Kazembe.