Police have sealed off Jumbo Mine in Mazowe, a move aimed at restoring sanity to the area which has been invaded by thousands of illegal miners from across the country.
The mine has been declared a no-go area and by yesterday, a total of 1 715 illegal miners had been arrested countrywide under the ongoing operation code-named “Chikorokoza Ngachipere/No to Machete Gangs”, launched on Tuesday last week.
Jumbo Mine has been a haven for illegal activities with a high prevalence of machete wars that claimed lives and injured many.
Since 2018 when Metallon Gold stopped its activities at Jumbo Mine, an influx of artisanal miners was recorded.
In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said anyone found operating illegally in the area would be arrested.
“Police operations at Jumbo Mine and other areas in Mazowe have so far been successful. The ZRP has intensified the maintenance of law and order at Jumbo area in Mazowe. A team of senior officers visited the area to check progress on Monday afternoon. Members of the public are accordingly advised that Jumbo Mine and its environs are now a no-go area with immediate effect.
“Police would like to warn machete gangs that they only have themselves to blame should they continue to harass and terrorise innocent members of the public. Police would like to assure the public that we are firm on the ground to deal with all criminal elements.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said preliminary investigations revealed that some farmers living near Jumbo Mine had been harbouring illegal panners, including those on the police wanted list.
“We have gathered intelligence that some nearby farmers are sheltering illegal miners,” he said.
“We want to warn them that the long arm of the law will catch up with them. We will arrest anyone involved in such activities without fear or favour.”
Meanwhile, police at Makosa in Mutoko have arrested seven illegal miners on allegations of masquerading as police officers and members of the Zimbabwe National Army.
They were arrested after invading Ngororombe Mine.
Police recovered three pairs of handcuffs and a Toyota Wish that was being used as a getaway vehicle.
Last week, 77 illegal miners were sentenced to two years in prison each by a circuit court in Shamva for illegal mining, while 112 got 50 days each on charges of criminal trespass.
The court remanded another 66 in custody pending trial and fined two for illegal possession of mbanje, one $80 (or 30 days) and one $500 (or five months).
More than 1 000 illegal structures have been demolished in the Mazowe area.