KADOMA — About 200 suspected illegal gold panners, among them women, children and passersby, have been detained at Kadoma Central and Eiffle Flats police stations following a police raid which started last Friday.
Report by Blessed Mhlanga Staff Reporter
Mashonaland West acting provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ian Kohwera said he was yet to be briefed about the operation, but several panners interviewed by NewsDay said they were being subjected to inhumane conditions.
Most of the panners said they were arrested at Etina and Chitanda mines, some 20km outside Kadoma. Due to the large number of the arrested panners, they were being detained and sleeping in the open without blankets.
“The police picked up women who had children on their backs and even some people who were passing through and arrested us. We have not been charged and are unaware why we are being held here,” said Elson Pomerai.
Strike Matete claimed he was caught up in the blitz as he was passing through the area on his way to his aunt’s home.
“I have suffered greatly owing to this arrest because I am being detained out here in the sun and during the night the mosquito bites are terrible,” Matete said.
Most women had, however, been released by yesterday afternoon after paying a $20 fine each as admission of guilty.