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3 471 arrested as police go after machete wielding mine gangs

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By Staff Reporter

POLICE have arrested 3 471 illegal miners linked to fierce machete wars for control of mining spots in the country with the fights often leading to deaths.

Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe said Thursday the miners were arrested when they were found in possession of machetes.

The police operation also netted over 1 500 illegal miners.

“We have met with our Mines and Mining Development Ministry counterparts and police commanders today (Thursday) 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 are not prevailing in the country. We have moved a gear up in the raids as these issues are of a security threat.”

This comes after reports of over a hundred deaths in Zimbabwe’s notorious mine wars.

Between August and October this year, some 105 people reportedly died in machete wars, while hundreds others were injured by groups that have terrorised the country’s gold-rich sites.

Zimbabwe Peace Project, which documents and reports acts of politically related crimes, said the majority of the machete hit squads, infamously known as MaShurugwi and the Al-Shabaab, come from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands.

The report revealed that 105 murder cases were caused by the machete shock troops while over 200 people were butchered and left nursing wounds.

“Mining gangs are fighting a brutal war against each other and citizens are often caught in the crossfire or in some instances targeted by these gangs.

“Between the months of August and October a total of 105 murder cases have been recorded in mining areas surrounding Kadoma while 221 cases of assault have been recorded,” ZPP said in a recent report.