Gov swoops on 1 000 mashurugwi
SHURUGWI – In one of the biggest swoops on potential criminals in recent years, Government using Support Unit brought in from Buchwa Mberengwa, Bulawayo and Harare arrested more than 1 000 illegal gold panners from mines near Shurugwi on Monday and these are held in the open at Shurugwi Police Station where they have endured downpours in the last two days because holding facilities are filled up.
Those arrested in the Monday morning raids include women and children found cooking or selling wares at the mining sites.
Police is understood to have attempted to take truckloads of some of the prisoners to court on Tuesday but Magistrate Sithabile Zungula said insisted that she wanted the suspects vetted first so that only those with cases to answer are brought to court.
National Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Mirror that the illegal miners were arrested in a national campaign called no machete wielding, no chikorokoza. Some 820 were arrested in Shurugwi on Monday alone and the campaign has taken Police to Mash East, Manicaland and Midlands and so far a total of 4 560 makorokoza have been arrested..
Peter Mutekura, a miner complained against bad treatment from the Police including that they are sleeping in the open in a fenced area where it is raining. He complained that they were hungry and they didn’t know when they are going to be released.
More than five mining companies are believed to be registered and operating in Hwandara were raided including Lulu Mine, Vital, Kapeta, Gara and Bezel Mine.
The raids started at around 6am on Monday and the miners were caught by surprise as Police units arrived and ordered everyone not to run away but to jump into the lorries that were standing by.
A small number managed to escape the dragnet while others are said to have succeeded to evade the Police by hiding away in the tunnels at the mine.
The mines in Shurugwi have been known for being havens for criminals with some of them being on the wanted lists for murders that have not only happened in mines in Shurugwi but around the country.
Mutekura said they were surprised to see police trucks with armed police getting to their mining place and everyone was instructed not to flee but to boarder the truck with no reason.
“It’s very painful that we are treated like this. We are poor and are merely trying to eke out a living. Police stormed the mine. No one could escape and we were all bundled into trucks without being told the reasons. We spent the whole night in the fence hungry and in the rain,” said Peter Mutekura one of the miners
Elisha Marasha, another gold panner said the Government was contradicting itself by arresting the miners. He said the illegal mining activities were happening with the full blessings of President Mnangagwa and it was therefore confusing that the miners were being arrested.
“Last year in November President Mnangagwa told us at Winery in Gweru that we were all no longer illegal gold panners but artisanal miners and we all celebrated. Yes Police maybe looking for criminals but why should everyone suffer?” asked Marasha. https://masvingomirror.com